Three Truths: Manchester United got schooled but could still win the Premier League
3 truths from Real Madrid’s 2-1 over Manchester United in the European Super Cup final.
Forget the scoreline, United got schooled
A 2-1 loss against Real Madrid in the European Super Cup final flattered Manchester United. Make no mistake about that. Los Blancos were absolutely dominant in a first period that could have seen them score at least three goals. It was much of the same early in the second half. Isco added to Casemiro’s first-half strike as Zinedine Zidane’s men threatened to run away with it.
United belatedly made a fight of it after Jose Mourinho introduced Marouane Fellaini and went more direct. Romelu Lukaku halved the deficit with just under half an hour to go, but Madrid still looked the far more threatening. United got schooled but..
United could still win the Premier League
Despite the above, Jose Mourinho has crafted a side well and truly capable of putting together a decent run at winning the Premier League. European and Premier League football are completely different beast and United are pretty well suited to domestic football.
Mourinho, as is his wont, has married technical excellence with dominant power and they can ask all sorts of questions of teams in the Premier League. United are still a little light when it comes to guile at the top end of European football, but the Premier League puts greater weight on physicality.
Premier League clubs are still well behind the best in Europe
There are lies, damned lies and statistics. Then there is England's finest sampling what life is really like in football's fast lane. Jose Mourinho was not telling fibs when he said there was a marked difference between the Champions League and the Europa League in quality. It showed in a contest that suggested while United may challenge for the Premier League with this crop, there is next to no chance of them winning Europe's biggest prize for a fourth time. Don't expect any other Premier League side to fare better in this company.
United only lost to Los Blancos by one goal, but not before being passed off the park as Madrid doled out a lesson in possession football and the importance of protecting the ball with more importance than your life savings. Madrid attempted 592 passes, completing 528 of them. United attempted 332 pases, making 278 passes. So Madrid made 250 passes more than United.
You don't have to be Mourinho to work out where it went wrong for his side.