A big part of Manchester United’s pinnacle of modern history is interwoven with one magical night against Juventus in Turin. However, in their 2018 version at Old Trafford, the distance between Jose Mourinho’s team and the one Alex Ferguson managed to the treble couldn’t be more evident.
Juventus won 1-0 thanks to a Paulo Dybala goal in the first half, but the gulf between the team was much wider than just one goal.
The same problems that have been plaguing Manchester United in their league appearances early this season and in some of their failures since Mourinho took the job were glaring in their loss against Massimiliano Allegri’s lads as well: Huge gaps between the team’s units which allowed Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo (very effective including something of an assist) and the Bianconeri midfield, completely controlling the pace and direction of play. Long balls, lack of pressure on the ball for too many minutes. David de Gea, especially in the first half, kept the match competitive, sort of.
Juventus just might be the best team in Europe at this point. If it wasn’t for the wastefulness of Juan Cuadrado and Joao Cancelo, this would have been a much greater win, one that puts Mourinho under the pressure of disappointed fans and vulture-like media once more.
The question asked of Juventus following this match has to be one: Can they turnaround their Champions League final misfortune this season, after five losses in their last five visits to the winner-takes-all event. For United, it’s more of a long term question – about whether this club is in the right hands to take them that far in the near future, with 7 years past since their last visit. They haven’t come close since.