MX23RW : Tuesday, December 11 09:41:10

Result: Manchester United extend winless run in dour stalemate with Valencia

Manchester United's winless run stretches to four games as they are held to a goalless draw at Old Trafford by Valencia in Group H of the Champions League.

Manchester United's winless run has stretched to four games across all competitions courtesy of a dour goalless draw with Valencia in the Champions League this evening.

The Red Devils produced another performance lacking in energy and intensity as they failed to improve upon a miserable 10-day spell which has seen them pick up just one point from two Premier League games and crash out of the EFL Cup.

Marcus Rashford came closest to breaking the deadlock with a free kick which clipped the crossbar late on, but ultimately neither side could complain at the final result as United made it four home games without a win in all competitions.

Valencia's Geoffrey Kondogbia in action with Manchester United's Alexis Sanchez on October 2, 2018© Reuters

United had seen Juventus beat Young Boys earlier in the evening to move top of Group H, and manager Jose Mourinho recalled the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Rashford and Antonio Valencia following Saturday's 3-1 defeat to West Ham United.

However, inspiration was in short supply during the opening 45 minutes as United once again produced a lacklustre performance, with Rashford coming closest when he cut inside before flashing an effort wide of the near post in the 15th minute.

Indeed, Rashford was responsible for all of United's best first-half moments, also drawing a routine stop from Neto and seeing a header blocked by Ezequiel Garay.

None of those attacking highlights could be regarded as chances, though, and perhaps the best opening of the first half fell to Valencia in the 12th minute when David de Gea comfortably collected Goncalo Guedes's strike from inside the box.

It was a half played at a pedestrian pace for the most part as United offered few signs of a reaction to their recent poor form, and Valencia could have taken the lead in the early stages of the second half when Guedes found space on the edge of the area but could only curl his effort wide.

The fans inside Old Trafford began to urge their side to attack, and the players responded by creating their best chance of the match up to that point when the ball fell kindly for Paul Pogba, whose shot from inside the box was well blocked.

United's improvement was short-lived, though, and aside from a powerful Pogba free kick which Neto comfortably turned over the crossbar, the hosts once again struggled to offer any encouragement for the increasingly frustrated supporters.

Valencia had the chance to punish United in the 67th minute when a slip from Pogba allowed Cristiano Piccini to break down the right and deliver a cross for Rodrigo Moreno, who knocked the ball down for Chelsea loanee Michy Batshuayi to lash over.

The hosts did finally begin to show some urgency in the final 20 minutes, with an otherwise statuesque Romelu Lukaku momentarily springing into life when he latched on to Pogba's long pass forward, cut onto his left foot and then saw his curling effort parried away by Neto.

Moments later Marouane Fellaini teed up Sanchez inside the box, but the Chilean hesitated over his finish and was closed down in a moment which typified United's dispiriting display.

Rashford was one of few United players who did look sharp and eager to make amends for their recent form, and he came closest to scoring with just four minutes remaining of the match when his free kick from the left side of the area kissed the top of the crossbar on its way behind.

United's best chance of the night arrived two minutes later when Lukaku darted to the near post to meet Rashford's corner, but the Belgian nodded his finish over the bar when unmarked to cap off a poor personal performance which extends his wait for a goal to five matches.

The final whistle was greeted by boos from the home fans, and in the end it was a performance which will invite yet more questions as to the problems at Old Trafford, with United still without a home win since August 10 and Mourinho having gone four home games without victory for the first time in his managerial career.

United will have a chance to end that run when they host Newcastle United on Saturday evening, while Valencia welcome Barcelona to the Mestalla on Sunday.

MAN UTD (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Shaw; Fellaini, Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Sanchez (Martial 76')

VALENCIA (4-4-2): Neto; Piccini, Garay, Gabriel, Gaya; Coquelin (Soler 78'), Parejo, Kondogbia, Guedes (Cheryshev 83'); Rodrigo, Batshuayi (Gameiro 73')

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Paul Pogba reacts while in action for Manchester United on September 22, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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