STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Juve exposes shortcomings in Jose Mourinho's Manchester United project

Juventus' margin of victory wasn't as comprehensive as former Manchester United player Phil Neville had pred...

Posted: Oct 24, 2018 2:38 PM
Updated: Oct 24, 2018 2:38 PM

Juventus' margin of victory wasn't as comprehensive as former Manchester United player Phil Neville had predicted before Tuesday's Champions League tie at Old Trafford. Neville, a member of the famed "Class of '92," was expecting the team which leads Serie A by four points to give his former club a thumping.

Jose Mourinho's men, at least, were not humiliated, but they were comprehensively outplayed. England's most successful club used to hold its own against Europe's elite on floodlit nights but, other than a Paul Pogba shot which hit the post in the second half, the English Premier League side caused Juventus few problems on home turf.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Football (Soccer)

Jose Mourinho

Manchester United FC

Paulo Dybala

Premier League

Sports and recreation

Sports figures

Sports organizations and teams

Victory for the Italians came thanks to Paulo Dybala's 17th-minute winner, the Argentine side-footing home a Cristiano Ronaldo cross. A solitary goal was all that separated the teams -- but the difference between the two was, in truth, more immense than the scoreline would suggest.

"Juventus is a different level of quality, I have to be honest," Mourinho told BT Sport. "A level of quality, stability, experience, know how. It was a really difficult match for us. I thought we could take something, but it was not possible."

READ: Ronaldo shines as Juventus outclasses Manchester United

Juventus possessed players of superior quality in every area of the pitch, arguably other than goalkeeper where David de Gea, with two fine saves from Dybala and Ronaldo, once again proved his worth to his team.

United had no-one of Ronaldo's ilk, but neither did Mourinho's side have anyone as threatening as Dybala in attack, as majestic in midfield as Miralem Pjanic, or as commanding as Giorgio Chiellini in defense. No-one in red drove at the opposition like Joao Cancelo or set the tempo like Rodrigo Bentancur.

READ: Ronaldo on rape claim - I'm a 'happy man' and my lawyers are confident

Telling stats

While there are those asking whether this is the greatest Juventus team in history -- a compliment for a club which has won seven successive league titles -- questions of a less positive nature are being asked about Mourinho's United.

United, currently nine points behind Premier League pace-setters Manchester City and Liverpool, improved after the break, but the stats were still telling. The hosts ended Tuesday's match with just 39% of possession and just two shots on target.

At one point in the first half, Juventus enjoyed over 75% of possession and had restricted United to just one touch inside its penalty area.

Throughout the summer Mourinho complained that his defense was not equipped for the season ahead and, tellingly, after Tuesday's defeat the Portuguese reserved particular praise for Juve's central defenders.

"Chiellini and [Leonardo] Bonucci were beautiful, absolutely beautiful. But my boys, I'm so happy with what they did," he said.

READ: Jose Mourinho says his 'future' is at Manchester United

Defense was not only United's problem against Juventus.

Asked in Monday's pre-match media conference why he did not perform for United as he did for Belgium, whom he helped steer to the World Cup semifinal, Romelu Lukaku said that he and his United teammates simply needed time together to click.

But the Belgian was once again poor for the club he joined in 2017 for $97 million.

The striker has now failed to score in his last eight matches and though Mourinho said he had "no criticism at all" of his player, he did add: "I have to agree his moment is not sweet."

"Romelu is a hard-working guy and a good professional," said the manager. "One day the goals will arrive and the confidence will be back."

READ: Lionel Messi out for a month with arm injury

'Big desire'

Mourinho's net spend in his five transfer windows at the club is reportedly $389 million -- only Manchester City ($649 million) has spent more in the Premier Leauge, but after failing against Juve, the former Real Madrid and Chelsea boss made it clear that more investment was needed if his team is to compete against Europe's best.

"To go to the Juventus level? Barcelona level? Real Madrid level? How can you reach that level? Manchester City level? How can you reach this level?" he asked.

"It is not easy because many of the players they belong to these top teams, so we work with what we have and we try to improve with what we have.

"They had [Gonzalo] Higuain, [Mario] Mandzukic, [Paulo] Dybala but they want more. They want Ronaldo. They had [Andrea] Barzagli, [Giorgio] Chiellini, [Daniele] Rugani, they are not happy, they want more.

"They want Bonucci and they go for the best players in the world. So big, big club with a big past but with also a big desire to have a big future."

It was only last month that Mourinho's future as United manager was in doubt after the club endured its worst start to a league season since 1989/90 season, languishing closer to the relegation zone than the top of the table after three defeats.

Visit cnn.com/football for more news and videos

A late comeback victory against Newcastle, followed by a 2-2 draw against undefeated Chelsea Saturday, stemmed the tide of disapproval but such was Juventus' superiority Tuesday that further scrutiny will be put on the team Mourinho, now in his third season at Old Trafford, has built.

Terre Haute
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 69°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 69°
Rockville
Broken Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Casey
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 67°
Brazil
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 69°
Marshall
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 69°
Rain Ending
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 183224

Reported Deaths: 7714
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1067134894
Lake11982440
DuPage11470510
Kane9200298
Will8592339
Winnebago3673124
St. Clair3610156
McHenry2941114
Madison218673
Kankakee168468
Rock Island158331
Champaign154419
Unassigned1337197
Peoria130234
Kendall128423
Sangamon101333
DeKalb84629
Boone72823
Jackson64419
McLean56215
LaSalle51518
Macon47323
Randolph4327
Adams4242
Coles39919
Ogle3715
Tazewell3698
Clinton33817
Williamson3295
Stephenson3176
Whiteside30816
Union30321
Grundy2815
Monroe27813
Knox2591
Iroquois2557
Vermilion2122
Henry2051
Cass20211
Morgan1965
Jefferson18717
Warren1800
Lee1462
Montgomery1437
Bureau1412
Marion1360
Macoupin1353
Franklin1290
McDonough12815
Perry1261
Christian1134
Effingham1131
Jo Daviess1121
Saline1111
Douglas1022
Woodford953
Livingston922
Pulaski910
Logan850
Mercer700
Jersey691
Clark660
Shelby601
Johnson570
Washington570
White570
Fayette553
Bond542
Jasper547
Moultrie530
Cumberland462
Menard460
Carroll453
Gallatin450
Piatt440
Wayne441
Lawrence420
Mason420
Ford411
Alexander360
Massac340
Hancock321
Wabash320
Crawford290
De Witt290
Edgar260
Fulton260
Hamilton220
Marshall210
Greene190
Hardin170
Schuyler160
Clay140
Brown130
Edwards130
Pike130
Richland120
Scott100
Henderson90
Pope80
Calhoun70
Putnam70
Stark70
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 67857

Reported Deaths: 2975
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14710719
Lake7037269
Elkhart458276
Allen3611157
St. Joseph311479
Hamilton2489104
Cass17509
Hendricks1742105
Vanderburgh170012
Johnson1648118
Porter117439
Tippecanoe109411
Clark107545
Madison84265
LaPorte82929
Kosciusko81612
Howard80464
Marshall74222
Bartholomew73847
Floyd68444
Monroe68430
Noble63528
Delaware63352
Boone63246
Dubois62412
Hancock61637
Jackson5514
LaGrange54210
Shelby50926
Warrick50230
Grant49629
Vigo46810
Dearborn46128
Morgan41832
Henry36118
Clinton3523
White34510
Montgomery33821
Lawrence32627
Wayne3159
Decatur31332
Harrison28922
Miami2582
Scott24710
Daviess24319
Greene23834
DeKalb2214
Putnam2218
Jennings20712
Franklin20510
Jasper2032
Steuben1993
Gibson1984
Ripley1887
Perry17112
Starke1647
Orange16324
Wabash1583
Posey1570
Fayette1547
Jefferson1492
Whitley1486
Fulton1442
Carroll1422
Wells1312
Knox1290
Huntington1183
Washington1151
Spencer1133
Newton10910
Tipton1065
Randolph1024
Clay975
Jay820
Adams812
Rush794
Owen781
Sullivan751
Pulaski711
Brown701
Fountain632
Benton600
Blackford532
Ohio504
Parke451
Pike450
Switzerland430
Crawford420
Martin420
Vermillion380
Union320
Warren191
Unassigned0200