When Manchester United drew 1-1 to Southampton on Saturday, it marked the continuation of an awful away spell that has seen them lack Premier League victory on the road since February and comeback joy away from home last graced them against PSG in Paris.
When Daniel James opened the scoring despite a steady initial spell from the Saints, all seemed good. Following that, the Welshman himself appeared eager to double United’s lead on multiple occasions.
This was where the home-side’s risk-taking tendency came in clutch as the side succeeded in overpowering and tiring United’s backline, culminating in Vestergaard’s headed goal near the hour mark.
The game was aptly summarized by Rio Ferdinand who tweeted the following about United’s shortcomings:
When we have teams waiting to be finished we have to be more ruthless…. We weren’t today & we got sucker punched after totally controlling the game up to the equaliser! @Daniel_James_97 the bright spark!!! #mufc
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) August 31, 2019
This has always been a region where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has struggled from the get-go. In sharp contrast, killing off games was an ability that Jose Mourinho exercised ruthlessly.
If the Norwegian wishes to make radical changes at the club, he must push his own offensive agenda even further. After pressing hard for the second goal in the first half an hour or so, the Red Devils simply didn’t display the same attacking intent for the rest of the game.
By the time the equalizer had been buried at the back of the net, Southampton were smart enough to hold their own quite well, despite the sending off of Kevin Danso.
All in all, the display was a sordid one which will be on the minds of most supporters heading into the international break.
This season was never expected to be an easy one for United, but the spark from the Chelsea game appears to have ignited hope in vain.