NFL Fantasy Week 3: Start ‘em, Sit ‘em- Quarterbacks
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The bitter 3-0 home defeat by Tottenham adds more pressure on coach Jose Mourinho.
Manchester were thrashed 3-0 at home by a very impressive Tottenham side last Monday night and it was a day to forget at Old Trafford. Disappointed fans left the stadium in droves just seconds after they conceded a third goal against Spurs with 8 minutes to play. United fans had seen enough after their team was taught a lesson by a very organized Spurs outfit. It took them time to get into their stride but once they got the first goal through a brilliant Harry Kane header, there was no stopping them. Two goals from Lucas Moura sealed the fate of a lackluster United display.
Tottenham continue their excellent start to the season and the 3-0 thrashing of Manchester United will be a massive confidence booster for them. With the win they confirm their status of serious contenders for the league title as well. They are one of 4 teams to win their opening three games with Liverpool, Chelsea and Watford.
Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino: “It was a massive victory for us and I am very proud of the performance. It is only the start of the season and we need to be consistent.“
As for United, there are very worrying signs as the team has looked dull and despite having dominated the first half they completely collapsed in the second half when Spurs got into fourth gear. They conceded two goals within 3 minutes and they could not recover from then. Defensively they were very poor and to concede the two last goals in such a manner shows there is an urgent need to re-enforce the defence.
Mourinho's choices to bring in both Bailly and Lindelof - who both played miserably in the defeat to Brighton on match day two - has had catastrophic consequences for the team as neither appear to have the level required to cope with furious pace in the Premier League. So against Spurs he opted to play with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones with midfielder Ander Herrera in a three-man central defence. Different faces, same problems. They looked completely disjointed and like the rest of the team they need to get their shape right.
Jose Mourinho: “I'm frustrated but I'm happy with the players and the performance. We worked amazingly hard this week but there are things you cannot resolve.“
Mourinho had better resolve things fast or he could see the exit before Christmas if the team drop too far from the leading pack - they are already 6 points behind leaders Liverpool. To add to that Zinedine Zidane, the former Real Madrid coach has publicly stated his interest in the Manchester job. However, Mourinho still has the backing from the owners at Manchester and has time to turn the situation around but it is more difficult than it appears. But you have to ask, can Mourinho really turn this team around?
Mourinho now faces a struggle to put together a reliable defence and other Premier League teams will be eager to exploit their weakness. It was Mourinho's worst home defeat in the Premier League and it now appears that no team is afraid to travel to Old Trafford and the fear factor that was associated with the Red Devils under Sir Alex Ferguson is no longer.
In May 2016, Mourinho signed a three-year deal as manager of Manchester United. In his first season in charge the club won the Community Shield, the League Cup and the UEFA Europa League. Though despite finishing second last season, they are still far from what we had hoped. They were expected to get closer to the level Manchester City were playing at last season but instead they are stuttering while Liverpool are setting the standard thus far scoring six goals and conceding none. Is Mourinho entirely to blame for that?
Opinion: The players are not playing for Mourinho
This is exactly the same situation we witnessed after he won his third Premier League crown with Chelsea. He had a falling out with some of the players and the team refused to apply themselves for the coach and the inevitable happened. Mourinho was ousted after a poor start following the title winning season of 2014-15 in his second spell with the Blues.
It is still early to put them out of the title race but Mourinho will not want his team to fall a further three points behind his rivals who are firing on all cylinders while he struggles to patch up a team that has no leaders and no character, forget harmony.
We expected so much from Pogba this season after his superb World Cup with France during the summer but it only happened in the first game of the season. Nothing since. At Brighton he was a shadow of himself and against Tottenham, he did perform better but was still lacking character, impact and influence on the game.
Pogba has to step-up to the plate to be the leader, or one of the leader's, but he has gone back to his old ways - fading out of games and having little impact when it is needed most. It's the opposite of his performances for France just a few weeks ago. He is one of the many player's who appear not to be playing for the coach and this could be very concerning for United.
Opinion: United have a good squad and they can raise their level but if the motivation is not there and if Mourinho cannot bring it back, they will continue to struggle.
Whats next? Difficult few weeks ahead!
They next travel to Burnley in another difficult away fixture that could have serious repercussions if they do not take three points. Burnley, who have 1 point from 3 games, lost to Fulham last weekend and also at home to in form Watford a fortnight ago. So we would expect United to take the three points but they cannot afford to be complacent as Burnley will also be looking to get their first win of the season.
United then travel to Watford on the 15th September. That is going to be a big challenge for Mourinho's men. The Hornets are in great form under coach Javi Garcia and have won their opening three games but host Tottenham before United's visit. If they can beat Tottenham they will feel confident against United.
In the Champions League group stage they will face Italian Champions Juventus, Swiss Champions Young Boys and Valencia of Spain. The first game is away to Young Boys in Bern on the 19th September. Valencia visit Old Trafford on the 2nd October and the big clashes against Juventus will be at home on the 23rd October and away on 7th November.
On the 27th November they host Young Boys and the final group game is away to Valencia on the 12th December. They should be able to qualify from this group however they may find themselves back in the Europa League if they don't improve their form.
Have your say: Can Mourinho turn things around or will he be sacked?