Man Utd 1-0 Wolves: Moutinho late strike was enough to seal a famous Wolves victory at Old Trafford and secure a 1-0 win over Manchester United. Wolves inflicted Ralf Rangnick’s first defeat since taking over as interim manager from Michael Carrick who steady the ship when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired.
Man Utd 0-1 Wolves: Moutinho late strike seals a famous win for Wolverhampton Wanderers, the only goal was scored eight minutes from time to give Wolverhampton Wanderers a deserved victory over a disjointed Manchester United.
Wolves’ first Old Trafford victory since 1980 required a Jose Sa save in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Sa saved a curling free-kick from Bruno Fernandes, who had before blasted against the crossbar when he could have scored.
The visitors dominated the first half-hour and were back on top by the time Moutinho scored, albeit the goal was unlucky for central defender Phil Jones, who was one of United’s better players following a nearly two-year layoff due to injury.
Although Moutinho had not scored since February 2021, his clearing header dropped to the 35-year-old midfielder on the edge of the box, and despite having not scored since February 2021, he held his cool to drive a shot through a crowded penalty area and into the bottom corner.
The Wolves fans erupted in applause at the final whistle, but it was a crushing defeat for Rangnick, who now finds himself in seventh place in the Premier League, 22 points behind champions Manchester City despite having played two fewer games.
Wolves, meanwhile, sit in ninth place, three points and a place behind Manchester United.
Man Utd 0-1 Wolves: Fantastic Wolves…
Wolves hadn’t played in almost two weeks, since a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at home on December 19, and it had been 6 November since they’d played in a game with more than one goal.
As the first period drew to a close, Jones extended to intercept a Nelson Semedo pass meant for Ruben Neves, who was in a shooting position. Wolves coach Bruno Lage shrugged his shoulders animatedly.
According to Bruno Lage, his team should have had something to show for an initial period in which they had an incredible 15 shots, the most by a visiting team in the first 45 minutes of a Premier League game at Old Trafford since records began in 2004-05 season.
David de Gea had to make a flurry of stops, twice thwarting Semedo and Daniel Podence. A fingertip attempt from Neves to touch over a volley after he had handled a headed Jones clearance on the edge of the penalty area was arguably the choice.
Wolves were forced to defend harder after half-time, but even though they weathered the storm, Romain Saiss touched the bar with a free-kick in his penultimate game before moving off to the Africa Cup of Nations with Morocco, it appeared they would have to settle for a point.
Moutinho, on the other hand, had a different plan. While Wolves’ run of games with no more than a single goal has now reached eight, few in the visitors’ camp were concerned.
The full-time result from Old Trafford stadium is Man Utd 0-1 Wolves, a well-deserved victory for Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Red Devils look disjointed in the game, they clearly lack identity.
- Phil Jones returns to the team after two years and replaced Harry Maguire in defence, with Raphael Varane also returning in place of Eric Bailly. However, there was an instant comeback for Bruno Fernandes, who was named on the bench after serving a suspension.
- Wolves reverted to a front three with Francisco Trincao returning in the attack. Nelson Semedo also returned as a right wing-back, while Ki-Jana However dropped down to the bench, along with Leander Dendoncker.
ENOMAOMORUYI MAN OF THE MATCH…
João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Ralf Rangnick and Bruno Lage post-match reaction…
Man United Interim boss Ralf said: “We didn’t play well at all, neither individually nor collectively. In the first half, we had big problems keeping them away from our box and our goals.
“In the second half, we changed to a different formation with a back three. We had more control and there was a spell of 15 minutes where we could have scored, we hit the crossbar.
“The goal we conceded was one of too many this season where Moutinho could shoot completely unmarked, with no problems or pressure at all. Therefore, we are very disappointed about the result, but also about parts of our performance.
“They were playing with almost four or five central midfielders and we had problems controlling that part of the pitch. Whenever they tried to release one of their wing-backs, we were also struggling.
“That’s why we decided to change our formation. We had more control in the second half, they didn’t have that many chances as they did in the first half. But we missed our chances to score and we have to admit that they deserved to win.
“Wolves were the best team we have played, collectively and individually, and we had more problems today than in other games.
“We didn’t press at all. We tried after 10 or 15 minutes, but we were not able to get into those pressing situations because Wolves did that well. They had an overload in the centre of midfield and whenever we were trying to tackle them in those areas, they played via their wing-backs.
“So far, we had the results and at times played well, but today we have to admit they were better than us.
“I don’t want to speak about the individual performances of players. This is an issue for the whole team. We can only improve the team if we get better collectively.”
Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Bruno said: “It’s one more victory. It’s a lovely stadium, a place with a lot of history, but the most important thing is the way we played this game against this team.
“I think we prepared well for the game and I give a lot of compliments to my players to come here and play in our way.
“The first half was very good, we controlled everything, we created a lot of chances and didn’t score. In the second half, they adapted and changed the system. Afterwards, we changed some guys and they helped us to win this game.
“Even now with three points and one goal, we had more chances than goals so we need to continue to work.
“The most important thing for us is to see where the full-backs are, which position they start in. [It is important] to find the spaces. When they’re defending or attacking, where they are… In the first half, the space was outside. That’s why Semedo and Marcal had a lot of chances, a lot of the ball, and the boys found those spaces.
“The players understood the plan and I think we deserved the three points.
“I never thought about that [the luck not going with Wolves]. Every time, I’m positive and that’s why every time, I come to try and win the games. This is football, they have one good chance for Bruno and we had one with Saiss.
“We won, it’s good for us. The first time Wolves have won here [in the Premier League] so it’s important for us and now we move on, day by day and game by game.”
Man Utd lock horns with Villa in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday, January 10; kick-off at 7.55 pm.
Wolverhampton Wanderers third-round game is at home to Championship side Sheffield United on Sunday; kick-off at 2 pm.