If ever there was a way to kill the momentum and feel-good factor generated by last weekend’s sensational 3-2 comeback win over Manchester City, Manchester United’s 1-0 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion was it.
The second half at the Etihad saw United become an energetic and driven side but what was served up at Old Trafford against Darren Moore’s all-but-relegated Baggies was just the complete opposite.
In terms of the level of creativity, tempo and atmosphere in the stadium, it was as bad as anything Louis van Gaal served up and it was the worst possible way for United to prepare for two games this week, including Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Spurs at Wembley.
Among those who struggled the most was Romelu Lukaku. Starved of service but also failing to show any of the star quality that one might expect from an elite striker, the man valued at £76.5m by Transfermarkt endured a poor afternoon against one of his former clubs.
37 touches for a lone striker in a top side at home to the bottom club in the Premier League is nothing short of abysmal and getting two shots away shows a man who was never really going to trouble the visiting backline.
It is in games like this that a lack of quality creeps into the Belgian’s play and until that changes, the suspicion will persist that he is not an elite talent.