A home match 3 days after that showing at Wembley on Wednesday, when United were truly given a lesson by Mauricio Pochettino’s men. Huddersfield at home looks like a nice one on paper, but the away fixture would have looked just as inviting back in October where David Wagner’s side deserved to take away the 3 points.
Mourinho’s needs to get best out of Pogba
Jose Mourinho will need to decide whether Wednesday was simply a bad day at the office or whether he got it horribly wrong with his team selection. The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle and the challenge of facing a struggling Huddersfield side is somewhat different to what they faced at Wembley. Against Spurs, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic were simply out played from the first minute to the last and they had no answer to the energetic attacking runs of Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Heung-min Son. The Pogba conundrum still seems to be rattling around Mourinho’s brain and the obvious improved display at Everton was still not blatant enough for him to change his preferred 4-2-3-1 tactic. Pogba put in a woeful display but in his defence, defending has never been his strength yet is still asked to continue playing in a 2 man midfield alongside a very tired looking Matic. I think the latter will be given a game off on Saturday afternoon and we may see the re-introduction of Michael Carrick to bring further calm to the middle of the park. I fully expect Pogba to be retained, but with Mourinho expecting more of the ball than against Spurs, he will probably leave the Frenchman in a 2 still.
Changes needed at the back
At the back, Ashley Young was exposed defensively on the left and it is about time that Luke Shaw is installed as the United number 1 left back, after all, Mourinho apparently does not see a better left back. Other than Young it seems which is even more baffling and nothing but a complete confidence destroyer to a player trying to prove he is good enough at this level. Phil Jones has been excellent all season so would expect him to to start even if he had a shocker on Wednesday. I would be shocked to see him alongside Chris Smalling however, who was even worse, although Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof are not great options to bring in.
The Sanchez conundrum
The biggest problem area is how he gets the best out of Alexis Sanchez who was United’s brightest player at Wembley. He started him on the left, then moved centrally with neither seeming to have huge impact on the game. The main issue is the players that have to be moved to accommodate the Chilean with Juan Mata being benched in midweek and Anthony Martial removed from the position he has been brilliant in all season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marcus Rashford re-called to the side for Huddersfield in place of Martial to freshen it up a little bit. One area Mourinho will be hoping to get more from is Romelu Lukaku who once again looked lost in a big game. The big Belgian looked to be back on form following some positive displays since his head injury, but he disappointed on Wednesday night and it is vital for him and the team that he comes back with a top performance against the Terriers.
The Huddersfield game is a great chance for Mourinho to produce some form and cohesion from his group before the bigger games come around. Sevilla in the Champions League is a great opportunity to progress if they play well, but then huge games against Chelsea and Liverpool either side of the end of the month will be vital in the clubs hopes of a top 4 finish. With Liverpool and Spurs facing off at Anfield, this is an unmissable chance to gain points on one of those sides in the top 4 race. Another performance similar to the Spurs one, will result in another loss whoever they play, but i fully expect a reaction from Mourinho’s men at Old Trafford and a thumping win to get them back to winning ways.