Parker: Mourinho's negativity tarnishes Fergie's legacy - United should NEVER park bus at Anfield
Former Manchester United and England defender Paul Parker berates Jose Mourinho's tactics in the 0-0 draw at Liverpool, and believes Marcus Rashford would provide a bigger threat than Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the current climate.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United never went to Anfield to be happy with a point. It was not in Sir Alex's nature. You win big games, you win big titles.
Changed days indeed.
There was very little attacking intent from United there under Jose Mourinho.
And for Mourinho to say he expected more from Paul Pogba was bizarre. Pogba was restricted by the tactical set-up, and that is down to the manager.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was unbelievably isolated. Marcus Rashford was deployed wide right, but his focus was on nullifying James Milner. His game is all about direct running, but he played with very little freedom.
Bizarrely, Mourinho said post-match that if Rashford had not suffered from cramp he would have put him up top with Ibrahimhovic. Fair enough. But why then bring on Wayne Rooney to play more or less as a full-back? Ashley Young on the other side was deployed in a purely defensive role. He was basically playing as a full-back.
2011-12 FA Cup Liverpool Manchester United Kenny Dalglish Alex FergusonReuters
Mourinho showed no intention of winning that game. He was more concerned with not getting beaten.
United are all about winning, not being happy with draws
United are in seventh place so far. As things stand, Mourinho is relying on others dropping points. Manchester United need to win games. That is what the club is about. That was not Manchester United who played last night. Not at all. That was Mourinho making United as negative as possible.
All United had was a half chance. Zlatan’s header was a half chance. It was a tough angle. United had David de Gea to thank for their point. He made two world class saves.
Apart from that isolated incident, there were very little positives to take from the game if you are United moving forward. It was so defensive.
There is no huge problem with setting up as he did if you have an attacking point to it, but at least stick Rashford up front. Give Liverpool’s defence something to think about. They had one corner all game. One. That says much about how deep they were. Play Juan Mata with Rashford. Guile and pace.
Ibrahimovic deserves as much scrutiny as Pogba
Ibrahimovic has been getting a lot of good press. He has made a decent start so he is due praise.
But when he does not score and when he fails to take a game by the scruff of the neck, he is absolved from criticism.
Why is Pogba getting all the stick when Ibrahimovic is not much more convincing?
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action with Liverpool's Loris Karius before being caught offsideReuters
United are quick to jump on Pogba due to his £89m transfer fee. But people need to remember that Zlatan – despite costing nothing – remains a marquee player. He is on substantial wages. Pogba did not determine his price. United need more from Ibrahimovic.
Is it written in Zlatan’s contract that he has to start every big game? He is 34. At other clubs, I doubt he would be starting every single big match. Why has he started every game? There is no mention of him being tired. It needs freshening up.
It needs Rashford to go and play through the middle. That threat of pace would have made Liverpool drop off, and that would have impacted on their ability to press. With Zlatan they were able to squeeze up – particularly in the second half.
They were winning the ball much further up the pitch in the second half. Mourinho could have even stuck Rooney through the middle if he wanted experience. Rooney is quicker than Zlatan.
United's possession stats were simply embarrassing
United should not have 34% of the ball. This was defending for defending’s sake.
The purpose of any game is to score a goal. When Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool come to Old Trafford, you can almost guarantee that they will go for it. United were meant to be an awful outfit last year under Louis van Gaal but they went on Anfield and won. United didn’t look like a team who wanted to score. It was like a street fight with one of the fighters throwing no punches. It was a one-way onslaught.
It was backs to the wall. Was it great tactics? No.
"It does not take a lot to destroy a painting, but it takes a fair bit to create a painting."
This was Liverpool against United not Burnley, but it did not feel like two sides of such a stature going at each other.
Not when one side came to spoil, and not play the game properly.