Five things we learnt as United lose ground in the race for Champions League qualification
MANCHESTER UNITED lost ground in the race for a top four finish as they stumbled to a 1-1 draw at home to Swansea.
Jose Mourinho’s side knew they could put pressure on their rivals for Champions League qualification with victory against the relegation strugglers.
But despite Wayne Rooney firing them into the lead with a first half penalty they were unable to get the job done as Gylfi Sigurdsson curled home a brilliant free-kick to level.
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SunSport brings you five things we learnt from the draw at Old Trafford
Past it Rooney cost United the win
Wayne Rooney was back in the starting line-up as Jose Mourinho looked to keep his players fresh by rotating his squad, but the United captain is just not good enough any more.
He looked a yard short of pace, his passing was erratic and had it not been for the stoppage time penalty he scored you would have been forgiven for forgetting he was on the pitch in the first half.
But worse still, it was a moment of rank stupidity on his part to gift Swansea a needless free-kick which allowed Sigurdsson to whip home his sublime equaliser.
A shadow of the player he once was, it is a shame to see the only thing Rooney is good at now is moaning about decisions.
United looked shattered
Mourinho’s men look as though they have hit the wall due to their huge workload.
This was United’s 57th game of the season and the limbs are starting to give up on the United squad as injuries continue to take their toll.
They struggled to get going just three days after working so hard for a draw in the Manchester derby, but with so many players on the sidelines it is the same group who are being asked to shoulder the workload.
Two more limped out of this game – Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly adding to what was already a crippling injury list in the United squad.
Mourinho would be better off cancelling training for the next few days to avoid the risk of anyone else falling down before their Europa League semi-final first-leg in Celta Vigo on Thursday.
Marcus Rashford cheated
Some call it professionalism – others believe it is the scourge of foreign players.
But whatever way you dress it up, Marcus Rashford cheated to earn the penalty which put United ahead.
The England star was anticipating a foul from Lukas Fabianski, and had already started launching himself to the floor before he realised the Swansea keeper was pulling his arms away.
Cue Rashford dangling out a leg, searching for the merest touch. Even Michael Owen, himself a fan of an easy tumble, admitted it was a dive.
And if it is a dive, it is cheating. An attempt to con the ref. English players are as guilty as foreign players.
When video replays are finally introduced, officials should surely allow it to punish offenders. It is the only way the cheating is going to stop.
Swansea would be worthy survivors
Swansea and Hull are the two sides battling it out to avoid the final relegation position – assuming Middlesbrough follow Sunderland into the Championship.
But Paul Clement’s side showed they have more than enough quality in their squad, and should they manage to overhaul Hull in the final they a good base to build on for next season.
Since Clement arrived there has been a huge improvement of the shambles of a team presided over by Bob Bradley, and had he been in charge the whole season then there is every reason to think they wouldn’t be where they are now.
The Premier League would be better for Swansea’s surival.
Sig is smoking
He has played at Old Trafford three times, and on each occasion he has scored a goal. Glyfi Sigurdsson just loves coming up against Manchester United.
The Icelandic international is the class act in the Swansea team, a player who should be starring for a side pushing for Europe rather than fighting relegation.
Clever on the ball, the ability to spot and execute a pass are all of the highest order – and his ability with a deal ball is breathtaking.
No goalkeeper in the world would have stood a chance of stopping Sigurdsson’s free-kick that curled and dipped into the top corner to equalise.
With him in their side, Swansea know they have a great chance of avoiding the drop.