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Rediff.com  » Sports » CL Analysis: How Manchester United lost the plot against Olympiakos

CL Analysis: How Manchester United lost the plot against Olympiakos

Last updated on: February 26, 2014 13:14 IST

CL Analysis: How Manchester United lost the plot against Olympiakos

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Not even could coach David Moyes run away from the fact that Manchester United were woeful in their Champions League last 16 first leg outing against Olympiakos on Tuesday.

"That's the worst we've played in Europe. We didn't deserve to get anything," manager David Moyes said after the 2-0 loss.

Manchester United had been just one of three teams coming into the knock-out stages not to have lost in the Champions League so far this season.

But they were faced with a turnaround and that record was ended when goals from veteran Alejandro Dominguez and a stunning curling effort by Costa Rican Joel Campbell -- on loan from Arsenal -- saw the Greek champions romp through.

United have been mediocre this season and their weaknesses were exposed by Olympiakos.

The reigning English Premier League champions were disjointed and slow off the blocks, while their opponents breathed fire every time the ball met their feet.

Strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie were left chasing shadows even as Dominguez burst through the middle on a solo run only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from Nemanja Vidic, Olypiakos’s first attempt on goal.

United’s defending was poor to say the least, leaving ‘keeper David De Gea stay on his toes through most of play. 


Image: Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick of Manchester United react after conceding their second goal against Olympiacos FC during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match at Karaiskakis Stadium on Tuesday
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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'There is a lack of confidence and there are some players who just don't have the quality'

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Whenever Manchester United ventured into the Greek half all they ended up doing was make a hash of the opportunities.

Midfielder Tom Cleverley’s 17th-minute half-volley that sailed high over the bar was their only effort of note in the first half.

Hoping for a change in fortune, Moyes later sent on Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa, for Valencia and Cleverley, after the break, but it was more a change in attitude than personnel that was required from United.

Van Persie summed up his team's night with five minutes to go. He received the ball 12 metres out and turned inside a defender before blazing a right-foot shot way over the bar.

United’s supporters were left disappointed again, and summing up the team's show on the night was former captain Roy Keane, now a television pundit.

Highlighting the quality of the Greek side he reckoned Moyes needs half a dozen top signings to rebuild his team.

"Criticise United all you want but Olympiakos were good. They were on the front foot and technically better than United tonight," Keane, who helped United win the European Cup in 1999, said on ITV.

"There is a lack of confidence and there are some players who just don't have the quality. We've been brainwashed that the Premier League is the best in the world -- nonsense," he added.

"It's the best brand in the world but they have fallen behind, United more than most. They need six or seven players to rebuild the club." 


Image: Jose Holebas (right) and Hernan Perez (left) of Olympiacos challenge Antonio Valencia (centre) of Manchester United during their UEFA Champions League match on Tuesday
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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