Saturday 19 October 2019

Crisis at Manchester United deepens after dour goalless stalemate against Valencia at Old Trafford

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho

Simon Peach

Manchester United remain stuck in a rut after a stuttering goalless draw with Valencia that extends their winless run and keeps the pressure on Jose Mourinho.

Background shenanigans, disjointed displays and poor results have put Old Trafford in the eye of a storm, but Tuesday's Champions League tie offered the chance to divert some of the mounting focus.

Yet United's worst start to a league campaign in 29 years would be compounded by a disappointing 0-0 draw against a Valencia side with just one LaLiga win to their name this season, leading Mourinho's men to be booed at the final whistle.

This was the fourth straight match in all competitions that the Portuguese's side had failed to win, meaning scrutiny will only intensify ahead of Saturday's Premier League visit of Newcastle.

David Beckham and Gary Neville were among a number of United greats in the stands on a night that had started with their former team-mate Paul Scholes castigating "embarrassing" manager Mourinho.

The sense of farce was added to by United's inexplicable underestimation of Manchester's rush-hour traffic, leading to their late arrival and forcing kick-off to be delayed by five minutes.

When things belatedly got under way, Mourinho's side struggled to stamp their authority on their first Champions League home match since Sevilla inflicted a shock defeat in March.

Valencia attempted to replicate their countrymen's heroics at Old Trafford, where the home faithful began chants of "attack, attack, attack" early in the second half and would then cheer the substitution of Alexis Sanchez.

Valencia goalkeeper Neto denied Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku as United pushed late on, with Marcus Rashford hitting the bar as the players showed the hunger Mourinho called for.

How much the manager offered, though, is up for debate.

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