Jose Mourinho’s men may have only conceded once at Old Trafford but they were surely taught a footballing lesson by ‘super team’ Juventus.
The Old Lady looked her dazzling best in the first half, commanding 68 per cent of the ball and running rings around United at will. Paulo Dybala scored their goal during a period of pressure which saw Juve cut through the home side time and time again.
The Argentine had already threatened to score from a similar position, narrowly failing to get the desired contact on a goal-bound header from Juan Cuadrado’s cross after he had initially fed the ball to the Colombian after a probing run which caught Nemanja Matic flat-footed and out of position.
Despite that warning, Dybala was allowed to sweep the ball home moments later after Cristiano Ronaldo – on his return to his former club – had seen his cross for Cuadrado half-cleared by Chris Smalling.
There was barely any let-up and United looked leggy enough to speculate whether they had actually joined their manager Jose Mourinho in completing a half-mile dash to the stadium following pre-game traffic chaos.
They didn’t press, failing to get close to Juve in key areas. There was no urgency, with too many slack balls seeing them surrender possession on the rare occasions they had it.
At one point around the half-hour mark every single Juventus outfield player had touched the ball more often than everybody in a red shirt. It really was a schooling.
The second-half performance was much better from United but they still looked second best. To call their showing after the interval an improvement would be to damn them with faint praise.
One-nil going on six. Battered but flattered. This was the affirmation that United still have a long, long way to go to become one of Europe’s ‘super teams’ again