Michael Owen believes that criticism of Rafa Benitez’s tactics against Chelsea were somewhat unjustified.
Our former striker believes that we almost got the result we wanted from the match, but a few things just didn’t go our way. In his blog for BetVictor, he said:
“United were roundly criticised for their ultra-cautious approach at home to Chelsea on Sunday, but they did only lose out to a contentious penalty and a late own goal.”
“Would we be having the same debate if United had nicked a point against a very good Chelsea side? Very small margins.”
Certainly, there can be arguments made for the penalty not being given, and who knows what would have happened if it had remained 0-0?
A lot of critics of Rafa use the same argument that the negative approach shouldn’t be accepted by supporters as it runs counter to our history of playing open, attacking football.
However, I think fans are more pragmatic than that. If we were playing that way against the likes of Cardiff and Huddersfield at home, everyone would be up in arms, but in a one-off match against a top-six side, we can understand the need for a different tactic to get the required result. That nuance is lost on many pundits.