Manchester United’s mini unbeaten streak ended abruptly at Old Trafford when they kicked off their Europa League campaign with a 1-0 defeat by Real Sociedad. In truth, it was a rather disappointing performance for Man Utd; Days after scoring three goals against Arsenal in their most impressive game of the season, they landed just three shots against their Spanish rivals all night. Real Sociedad got off to a mixed start to the season, with narrow wins against Cadiz and Elche, a heavy loss to Barcelona and a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid last weekend. Still, on the eve of their visit to Old Trafford, manager Imanol Alguacil promised he wouldn’t hesitate to attack Erik Ten Hag’s team.
Brais Mendez’s penalty helped Real Sociedad beat Manchester United in the first leg of Thursday’s Europa League Group E after a flawless tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. Sociedad, on the other hand, earned a spot in the UEL for a third consecutive season thanks to their La Liga standing. However, they were a little weaker team than in prior competitions since they lost Alexander Isak to Newcastle United over the summer. It was sure to be an exciting experience. Real Sociedad ended the last minute relatively comfortably. The first stages of the match were relatively calm, with FC Manchester United creating a couple of chances thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo, but nothing bothered Alex Remiro of Sociedad.
At Erik ten Hag’s press conference on Wednesday, Erik ten Hag said he would take the Europa League seriously. Still, despite the Dutchman choosing a solid team including Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Maguire, David De Gea, Christian Eriksen, and Anthony Sociedad left Old Trafford with three points. In hunt of an equaliser, Ten Hag once more went to his bench, replacing summer addition Antony on the 70-minute mark with Jadon Sancho, who scored in United’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Sunday.
At the final whistle, the Sociedad squad and travelling supporters erupted in delight as Imanol Alguacil’s team earned their first-ever away victory over English opponents in a European game. Ronaldo was at least four times flagged for offside and wasn’t on for the goal that was disallowed, as the game went on, it got worse. Manchester United had won four straight Premier League games. Now that they can see that adapting Antony into their system will take time, there are new concerns about whether Cristiano Ronaldo can succeed under Ten Hag after the 37-year-old failed to take advantage of two golden opportunities. We will be waiting for Manchester United news regarding Ronaldo’s usage in the Premier League.