Paul McGrath: Manchester United must win more trophies this season to make up for Pool humiliation
Southampton will feel the wrath of Ten Hag’s battered troops
WHAT a week it has been for Manchester United.
Humilated, there’s no other word for it, by Liverpool last weekend they bounced back to surely sew up a place in the Europa League quarter-final with a fine win over Real Betis on Thursday night.
Red Devils’ supporters must have thought those sort of inconsistent outings were behind their team as they chased three Cups and a Champions League place in recent weeks.
But last Sunday, everything that has been wrong with United this season jumped up to bite them, seven times.
It is never acceptable for Manchester United to lose a match 7-0, but to lose 7-0 to Liverpool is unforgivable.
Perhaps it was Liverpool’s way of getting their fans back onside as they too were fighting back from a dreadful result, the 5-2 home loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League.
I remember, as a United player, once losing a match 5-1.
That was to the great Everton side of the mid-80’s, of Neville Southall, Kevin Ratcliffe, Peter Reid and our own Kevin Sheedy.
But we never lost like that to the Red half of Merseyside.
Indeed, though Liverpool won all the trophies back then, my United side was well able for them in the direct head-to-heads.
Glenn Hoddle came up with the interesting theory that, with United having so many non-British players now, they simply didn’t understand the meaning or importance of a Liverpool-Manchester United match.
I can’t buy that at all. Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford, to name but three players, were all in the Manchester United dressing-room to let anyone who was in any doubt about the depth of emotion around this game.
I mean, it was 0-0 after 44 minutes and only 1-0 at half-time after Cody Gakpo’s late goal in the first half.
But Manchester United just crumbled in the second period.
There were no fight, no one to put in a tackle and just stir something.
Luke Shaw waited until it was about 5-0 before he began to put himself about and clip a few people.
We saw the captain Bruno Fernandes waving his arms about, like one of those lads who escort planes on the tarmac to their stopping place.
The forwards stopped chasing back and you saw players looking to the sideline, hoping that every time Erik ten Hag made a change, their number would be in lights, so that they could get off the pitch.
It was not acceptable from the players of a great, great club who are being very well paid to give of their best for the shirt and the supporters.
There had to be a bounce back against the Spanish side from Seville.
I fear Gavin Bazunu is in for a very difficult afternoon too, when his Southampton side heads to Old Trafford in the Premier League today.
The lad is going to be a great goalkeeper for club and country, but you have to feel this is going to be a very testing 90 minutes for the Dubliner.
The Southampon defence will hardly be up to stopping Marcus Rashford in his current form and the more I see of this kid Alejandro Garnacho on the wing, the more I like him.
No, it could well be a very busy match for Gavin, in what is proving to be a very troubled season indeed for Southampton.
After losing to Leeds last weekend, the Saints now have relegation written all over them.
One way United might be able to erase the memory of the seven goals is to achieve everything that is left to them for this season.
Can they nail down a top four place in the Premier League and then add the FA Cup and Europa League to the Carabao Cup already won?
Do all that, and the traumatic trip to Anfield might recede in the minds of United fans.
Mind you, the Scousers will hardly let it go. They were all over social media last week with every joke and gag based on the number seven.
You see, even if this turns into a trophy-less season for Jurgen Klopp’s side, they will draw great comfort from last Sunday afternoon.
It was a famous victory for them and one in which their supporters could see the birth of a new forward line with Gakpo and Darwin Nunez on fire – and remember they have Luis Diaz to come back from injury.
Now Liverpool need to add a few young midfielders and they could be in business.
Manchester United just need to consign that match to history and trophies are the things that will do that!
SICK EXCUSE | ‘Impotent’ taxi driver who raped woman after picking her up outside club is jailed
NOT GHOSTED | Vogue Williams says her podcast lets people see what she is like ‘instead of judging’
TEnts stand-off | Garda assaulted and man arrested at asylum seeker protest in Westmeath
BROTHER CHARGED | Man accused of sister’s murder and attempting to kill niece in Portadown house fire
BELOVED DAD | Sligo man shot dead in Australia had a big heart for everybody, funeral mass hears
RIP | Woman (70s) dies in road crash in Ferbane, Co Offaly
'FELT HORRIFIC' | Non-binary Applegreen worker asked if they were going to ‘get a d*ck’, hearing told
HORROR KILLING | Man convicted of Limerick priest’s murder 40 years ago suffered ‘heinous’ injustice
overcrowding crisis | Protesters march on University Hospital Limerick as they demand local A&Es be reopened
'HEARTBREAKING' | Wexford girl granted home palliative care after desperate plea from family