Friday night football. Almost like it was invented to ruin your weekend. Depends who you support doesn’t it. One of those teams that is normal and wins and plays well, or the weird lads from the North East or are often bafflingly dire but don’t often get beat.

United were in with a shout of the top 4 tonight and found themselves up against a Southampton side in superb form but just like Everton last weekend were missing key players and hadn’t actually beaten anyone you wouldn’t expect them to. That said, they were favourites.

The favourites tag was well deserved as Southampton raced into a one nil lead after an Almiron fanny on at the edge of our box and none of our three centre backs decided to mark their sole striker. The commentators and pundits want to blame Darlow but volleys from close range tend go in if you allow them.

Southampton had a plan and pressed relentlessly and we pissed about a lot and took too many touches on the ball. At half time one nil flattered United. How many times have we played well first half this season? Morcambe doesn’t count.

The second half started as the first ended. Darlow flapped and they should have scored and then we gave the ball away cheaply (shock) and they should have scored but a mixture of Darlow’s fingerprints and the cross bar intervened.

The second goal when we gave the ball away again and had about 98 chances to clear so Stuart Armstrong scored. Shite. Really shite. Joelinton nearly scored with a good header but that was that and two nil really, really flattered us.

Ignoring the car crash defending, the individual errors and the lack of any tactical changes from the bench despite the horror show on the pitch – what once again is most concerning is the total lack of a plan from the start.

Southampton play a 4 4 2 with intense pressing. What was Steve Bruce’s plan? What was passed onto players? How did we plan to score or to create pressure? Game after game this season (and last) fans watch garbage. The occasional win punctures weeks of dross.

Two weeks off now before a tough game and then some winnable fixtures. Every other performance needs to be a ‘reaction’. It’s not a sustainable and I don’t just mean in the league. The away end would have been full of rage.

‘We’re shit and we’re sick of it’ used to be the cry. But we’re all just keyboard warriors according to the manager and most fans are aware of what we’re ‘trying to do’. Well I could do with some instruction Steve and I’m not the only one who thinks if there is a plan and if it’s working –  the plan has  to be to make us worse in every conceivable way.

Alex Hurst