Five things we learned from the Champions League

Red Star Belgrade beating Liverpool was arguably the most significant result of matchday four, with Manchester United's ambushing of Juventus making the scenario in Group H interesting.

Published : Nov 08, 2018 11:53 IST , Paris

Jose Mourinho (second from left) taunted Juventus supporters after the final whistle was blown, prompting Leonardo Bonucci to ask the Portuguese to calm down.
Jose Mourinho (second from left) taunted Juventus supporters after the final whistle was blown, prompting Leonardo Bonucci to ask the Portuguese to calm down.

Jose Mourinho (second from left) taunted Juventus supporters after the final whistle was blown, prompting Leonardo Bonucci to ask the Portuguese to calm down.

Under-fire Jose Mourinho and Manchester United revelled in an incredible smash and grab victory at Juventus, while Real Madrid continues its revival and Cristiano Ronaldo watches on as his magnificent volley counts for nothing.

We look at five things we learned in the Champions League this week:

Mourinho in his element

Under pressure following a series of dismal performances, Manchester United Jose Mourinho pulled off a hugely important 2-1 away victory at Juventus reminiscent of his past as the “Special One” that gives United a huge boost ahead of the Manchester derby at the weekend.

The Portuguese was in his element winning at the home of his former fierce Serie A rival, charging onto the pitch to taunt the home fans in Turin by cupping his ear as United players and supporters celebrated a win gained by Mourinho's decisions from the bench.

Juan Mata sparked a magnificent Manchester United turnaround by converting a free-kick in the 86th minute against Juventus.

He brought on Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini with 11 minutes left and United deservedly behind to a Cristiano Ronaldo wonder goal, and both were instrumental in the turnaround, Mata whipping home the equaliser and Fellaini flicking on a cross that Leonardo Bonucci eventually nodded into his own net.

The 55-year-old could do with some more of that golden touch at the weekend.

— Ronaldo not enough for Juventus —

Having reached two of the last four finals, Juventus looked like a genuine challenger for its first Champions League in over two decades when Ronaldo lashed home his 65th-minute volley.

Juve looked set to win Group H with two games to spare when Ronaldo rifled in Leonardo Bonucci's magnificent long pass just at it dropped over his shoulder, giving the Serie A leader a thoroughly deserved lead.

However, despite its impressive winning record, Juventus has shown weaknesses this season. It almost let United back into it at Old Trafford after switching off and this time it was punished for missing gilt-edge chances by a cynical away side.

Juve is still odds on to qualify for the knockout stages but if Massimiliano Allegri is to bring the club its third European Cup he will have to make sure it can keep up its impressive displays for the full 90 minutes.

— Real reborn —

In a full-blown crisis under previous coach Julen Lopetegui, Real Madrid looks a new side under caretaker manager Santiago Solari. The European champion's third win in three matches since Solari took charge was a 5-0 hammering of Viktoria Plzen .

Santiago Solari barks out instructions from the touchline during Real Madrid's win over Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday night.

The Czechs were not the strongest opposition but Wednesday night's display was Madrid at its swaggering best.

Real is set to qualify from Group G alongside Roma and a continuing of this form will put the rest of the competition on red alert.

— Italy roaring back —

After years in the doldrums Italian clubs other than Juventus are starting to make a mark on the competition and going toe-to-toe again with the world's best.

Napoli, which has mostly failed to transfer its recent domestic revival to the European stage, was unlucky to not win at least one of its two clashes with megabucks PSG and on Tuesday gave as good as it got in its 1-1 draw with Thomas Tuchel's side.

Inter Milan was dominated by Barcelona and saved from defeat by an inspired performance from goalkeeper Samir Handanovic and a poacher's finish from striker Mauro Icardi, who snatched a late draw that makes Luciano Spalletti's side favourites to qualify ahead of Tottenham Hotspur.

Roma meanwhile is keeping pace with Real Madrid in Group G thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 win at CSKA Moscow, Eusebio Di Francesco's side performing better in Europe than in Serie A.

— PSG continues to falter —

Crushing everything that moves in Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain can't seem to establish itself as a European powerhouse.

PSG is third in Group C after its battling 1-1 draw with Napoli in the Stadio San Paolo cauldron, and while it is only one point behind leader Liverpool, Tuchel's side has only managed to beat Red Star Belgrade in four matches.

The French champion's Qatari owners have spent huge sums in order to try to barge into the European elite, but has so far failed to convince away from the relative safety of Ligue 1.

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