Southampton 0-0 Manchester United: Lessons learned as Red Devils see out stalemate at St Mary's

Mourinho's men put in another underwhelming performance as their clear Europa League priority continued

Southampton 0-0 Manchester United: Lessons learned as Red Devils see out stalemate at St Mary's
Sergio Romero put in a man of the match display in the 0-0 draw / Getty Images / Julian Finney

Manchester United drew 0-0 with Southampton at St Mary's in a Premier League dead rubber.

The draw means United will now finish with a record low number of wins in a league season, finishing with either 17 or 18 depending on the result against Crystal Palace on the final day of the season.

The Red Devils' place in the final of the Europa League has rendered their remaining league games a burden to manager José Mourinho.

Their clash with Southampton played out with the feel of a pre-season friendly, something also evident in the Saints' play - but what also could be taken away from the game?

Sergio Romero is ready for Stockholm

The Argentine's selection throughout the knockout stages of the Europa League looked to cause a dilemma as to who was selected for the final.

Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea is obviously first-choice, but Mourinho confirmed that Romero will start in Stockholm, and he warmed up in some style here.

A Man of the Match display including a plethora of diving stops, as well as saving a penalty from Manolo Gabbiadini, saw Romero impress everyone in attendance.

Eric Bailly is not a right-back

Eric Bailly is comfortably the Red Devils' best centre-back right now, and his absence from the final is a massive hindrance to United's chances of success.

However, fielding him at right-back is definitely not the way forward. Understandably, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were selected at centre-back as they warmed up for the final.

The defensive side of Bailly's game was still solid enough, but the Ivorian is not a good attacking player. He frequently lost the ball as United looked to counter attack.

Axel Tuanzebe: The future

The incredibly impressive Axel Tuanzebe has looked assured when he has been called upon for the first-team this season.

Although his best role is definitely not as a defensive midfielder alongside Marouane Fellaini, his calmness and impressive manner in ball possession will have pleased Mourinho.

Despite this, Tuanzebe is yet to feature in his favoured centre-back role. The under-23 captain looks a shoe-in for the future of Manchester United.

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford can be a lethal partnership

The pacy pairing of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford hasn't been one often utilised by Mourinho.

As they've been competing for the same left-wing berth, they've been largely kept apart, but the Englishman's brief showing off the bench displayed why they can tear defences apart. Martial's famous direct running and lightning pace terrorises opposition full backs when he's on his game.

The same can be said for Rashford; the pair contain unrivalled potential with the assets they currently have. At St Mary's, Rashford's off-the-ball running was hugely distracting to the Saints' defence as Martial ran at them.

This can be used as a blueprint for the future, with the creative influences of Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan also in the team.

The squad needs another deep lying playmaker

Pogba may have flattered to deceive some in England, but Manchester United fans know his true worth. The Red Devils' points per game average drops by around 0.7 points when he is missing from the side, highlighting his importance to the team.

A run of three away games against the Premier League top five, only collecting one point in all, were played without the world's most expensive player.

It's evident that the squad needs another player who can link the defence and attack, as the whole team performance falls apart without the talismanic Frenchman.