Manchester United were knocked out of the Capital One Cup after losing on penalties against Middlesbrough on Wednesday night, as they produced an utterly dreadful performance that will heap further pressure on Louis Van Gaal.
With Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo the only survivors from Sunday’s 0-0 draw against City, United looked lethargic, sluggish in possession and absolutely devoid of ideas for the best part of the 120 minutes and squandered a host of glorious chances to secure progression to the next round.
Here’s five talking points from last night
Louis Van Gaal has hinted he might add a signing or two to his side in January, as he looks to bolster his squad.
United signed Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian and Memphis Depay last summer, before splashing £36m on Anthony Martial on deadline day, but Van Gaal remains keen to strengthen his options.
Chris Smalling said he’s determined to justify the praise Wayne Rooney and Louis Van Gaal have heaped on him after some brilliant performances this season.
The England defender has been in fine form for United so far and has been singled out for praise by his manager and captain, with Rooney describing him as one of the best centre-backs in the world.
Wayne Rooney has heaped praise on Anthony Martial, after the Frenchman’s career at Old Trafford got off to a blistering start since signing from Monaco on deadline day.
The Frenchman did not score against Manchester City but was again of the best United players on the pitch, despite being deployed out wide on the left to accommodate Rooney up-front.
Chris Smalling believes Manchester United’s stalemate draw in the Manchester derby does not rule them out of a title challenge this season.
United missed the chance of joining Arsenal at the top of the table as they failed to create any meaningful scoring chances until late in the second half and remained two points adrift of the league leaders.
Louis Van Gaal said he was disappointed by Mark Clattenburg’s decision not to award his side a penalty in the Manchester derby on Sunday.
The United manager felt Raheem Sterling’s challenge on Ander Herrera in the second half should have been punished with a penalty, although the match official had a different view on the incident.
Manchester United missed the chance to leapfrog City at the top of the table as they were held to a stalemate draw by their local rivals.
In what was a largely subdued Manchester derby, United and City outplayed each other and, in the end, the draw probably had Manuel Pellegrini feeling happier than Louis Van Gaal. United huffed and puffed but never really got going and struggled to build on last weekend’s win at Goodison Park.
Here’s five things we’ve learnt from Sunday.
Realistically this United team are suffering an identity crisis. The crisis is entirely based on consistency. One week they’re world-beaters, capable of dispatching any opponent. Other weeks they’re just a fart in the bath.