Manchester United made it four wins out of four under new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the side bagging a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United on Wednesday night.
The game at St James’ Park turned out to be the toughest test for Solskjaer’s men so far. While several players did perform impressively, United struggled due to a lack of offensive threat down the right wing.
The pair of Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia started on the right hand side for the Red Devils, with Ole bringing them in for his preferred duo of Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young.
The Norwegian tactician did explain this decision in his pre-match press conference, stating: “Ashley has played a lot lately. I decided early on that we needed to give Antonio a proper training period and now he is ready to train again.
“Jesse played every minute, he has worked really hard, his work rate is phenomenal, but today Juan takes that position.”
But this decision could have very well cost Manchester United, as both Mata and Valencia failed to offer much throughout the game.
The Ecuadorian, especially, completely failed to provide an attacking outlet down the right as Ashley Young consistently has, and supporters of the club were specifically critical of this fact on social media.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to Valencia’s showing against the Magpies:
Valencia adds nothing down the right. So static, passes sideways or backwards, doesn’t run, can’t dribble, not a brilliant defender. Got West Ham written all over him.
— Scott Saunders (@_scottsaunders) January 2, 2019
Has anyone seen Valencia in the final 3rd yet? Overlap anyone? Put in a cross? The answer is no, MOVE THIS FRAUD OUT
— FergieTime™️ (@SSIIIIUUUU) January 2, 2019
Valencia just hasn’t got the legs to get up and down the right side. Mata keeps coming inside. Would definitely look bring Young and Sanchez on to make that side stronger. #mufc
— Simply Utd (@SimplyUtd) January 2, 2019
Really enjoyed watching Valencia early in his #MUFC career but as he’s aged he’s become less and less mobile. Offers nothing on that right hand side. I think it’s time…
— Serge Adam (@SergeMUFC) January 2, 2019
Valencia has entered the period of his career where everything looks like hard work. No possession is simple for him anymore, every time he retains the ball under pressure, it’s a cause for celebration.
— Rowd (@RowdenJRSG) January 2, 2019
Antonio Valencia is finished.
— Aaron Wan-Bisscammer (@Nigerianscamsss) January 2, 2019