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Taking a lesson from the Old Lady

Taking a lesson from the Old Lady

Watching Juventus control the game and our team with consummate ease last night it was very clear where Manchester United currently sit in the European pecking order. To put it in cup draw terms, we are firmly in Pot 2. 

Aside from a decent spell in the second half when we threatened to pinch a hardly deserved draw, Juve were in complete control. If it wasn't for the brilliance of our beloved goalkeeper the scoreline would have been much more heavily weighted in Juventus' favour, deservedly so. We could have lost that game 4-0.

Last night was a lesson for everyone. 

For the players, it was a lesson in possession football and solid defending. For Mourinho, a lesson - as if he needed one - in how much work he has to do. For us, the supporters, it was a lesson in how far back we've fallen since Sir Alex retired. 

None of this is necessarily a bad thing. You can only better yourself by playing against the best and the players did that last night. Mourinho isn't stupid, but there's no harm in being reminded just where the work needs to be done. 

For much of United's support there still seems to be a sense of entitlement and certainly a belief that we are better than we are. This wasn't an embarrassing defeat to a Premier League minnow. It wasn't even an embarrassing defeat. It was simply a match in which we were schooled by one of the best teams in Europe and there's no shame in us acknowledging that. 

And yet...

At times we had them worried. There were reasons (few though they are) to be positive and have hope. Even if all the credit has to go to the Old Lady on the night.

We're back on the learning curve when it comes to Europe. Think back to Fergie's first three or four seasons in the European Cup. We should just be enjoying the ride at the moment, and instead be more concerned with stamping our authority back on the Premier League. 

Finally, what a pleasure it was to see Ronaldo grace the Old Trafford turf once more. He didn't score (thankfully) and the flashes of brilliance were less frequent but even at 34 he's still one of the best in the world. How we were blessed when he was ours, eh.