By 90Min
October 24, 2017

Manchester United slipped further behind neighbours Manchester City after slumping to a unforgivable 2-1 loss against Huddersfield on Saturday. 

After being neck-and-neck with their rivals for the opening seven games, a lacklustre performance at Anfield and the loss at Huddersfield has seen the Red Devils fall five points adrift of first place.

One particular trend that stood out before the season even began is Mourinho's second-season title wins. In every one of his five reigns as manager of a major club - Porto, Chelsea (twice), Inter Milan and Real Madrid - Mourinho has won the league title in his second season. That made United's upcoming campaign particularly interesting.

And with six victories in their opening seven games, it seemed Mourinho had finally found his magical touch at Old Trafford after an underwhelming sixth place finish last time out. £75m summer signing Romelu Lukaku was an instant hero, grabbing seven goals in as many games, and the addition of Nemanja Matic gave United the depth in midfield that was evidently missing last season.

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However, with many seemingly predicting a two horse race between the two Manchester clubs come the end of the season, United's toughest test of season came when they made the trip to Anfield to face Liverpool. These are the types of games a team needs to be winning if they are to be in the running for the title in the closing stages of the season. 

In truth, Liverpool outplayed Mourinho's side in every aspect, but they couldn't find the finishing touch to gain the lead. The Red Devils failed to even register a shot on target in the second half as they looked totally out of depth against Jurgen Klopp's well drilled, high pressing team.

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Mourinho had told his side to sit back and play for a draw, evident by their lack of desire to even get the ball up to Romelu Lukaku, who was starved of any kind of service throughout the game. 

Former United striker Dwight Yorke said he would've been "frustrated" by Mourinho's cagey tactics had he been playing. Ultimately, it finished in a goalless draw, and United didn't look comfortable dealing with the quality that Liverpool have going forward.

In United's opening nine games, they have only faced two teams who are currently in the top half of the table; a goalless draw with Liverpool and an unconvincing 1-0 win over Southampton. 

They aren't ready to be challenging for the title - well not yet anyway. Last weekend's loss to Huddersfield is testament to that, they should be dispatching teams of their quality if Mourinho's second season title tradition is to come to fruition.

Manchester rivals City look twice the team that United currently are, and are still yet to be beaten this season. It will take something very special to stop Guardiola getting the upper hand on Mourinho once again.

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