In many ways this was exactly the kind of fixture Manchester United needed. After the week from hell which culminated in a pathetic 3-1 defeat at West Ham on Saturday, the visit of an under-performing Valencia to Old Trafford on Tuesday could have been hand-picked.
But their inability to create anything of any note in a tense and tepid 0-0 draw emphasised the state of things right now in M16. Paul Scholes claimed before kick-off that Jose Mourinho’s management of the club had reached “embarrassing” levels, and the events on the pitch will have done nothing to alleviate the pressure on the under-fire Portuguese.
For the opening 10 minutes it looked like United were ready to throw everything at the cause, with their attacking tempo being high and their football smart. Yet that quickly evaporated and thereafter United’s performance was lacking in confidence, belief and creativity.