Manchester United have beaten Copenhagen 1-0 at Old Trafford in dramatic circumstances. Here is a look at six things we learned…
Harry Maguire scores vital goal
Harry Maguire is no longer Manchester United captain – but this was a captain’s goal.
With Manchester United finding it a real slog against a resilient Copenhagen side, it was Harry maguire who stepped up. Steve Bruce would have been proud.
It is not the first time a defender has been needed to break the deadlock, cast your mind back to Raphael Varane’s opening day of the season winner against Wolves.
Maguire will get a lot of credit for the way he is turning his Manchester United career around. He deserves it.
Manchester United attack is weaker than the sum of its parts
Let’s look at the investment in Manchester United’s front four. Anthony cost more than £80 million, Rasmus Hojlund more than £60 million.
Bruno Fernandez has cost above £50 million with add-ons, while Marcus Rashford earns a staggering £375,000 per week.
For all the resources spent in attack, Manchester United fans are entitled to expect more.
This was a continuation of the struggles which had seen United score only 11 goals in 9 Premier League games.
If you don’t want to blame the players, then you have to blame the manager and the coaches for the lack of production in the final third. Something just isn’t working.
Christian Eriksen leads improvement
Paul Scholes told TNT Sports at half-time that he regarded it as a mistake not to have started Christian Eriksen . Once again the Dane was left on the bench.
And for the third time in the last four matches, Eriksen was brought on as a half-time substitute.
Eriksen replaced sofyan Amrabat with United favouring a more attacking approach, and the veteran midfielder led an improvement from the moment the second half began.
It was Eriksen who provided the assist for Harry Maguire’s thumping header, his second assist of the season. He is playing himself back into a starting role.
Nervous and unconvincing
Three points was all we needed but we really wanteda convincing victory. As a collective, Manchester United were underwhelming and it made for a nervous night at Old Trafford. The first half was woeful.
The away game in Copenhagen won’t be easy at all. The Danes were competitive and will fancy their chances on home turf.
We could have done with a more convincing performance to lead into the Manchester derby this weekend too.
City are likely to be ruthless in attack, and even tougher to break down. There will need to be a vastly improved performance if United are to get a win.
Andre Onana saves the day
Part of the big reason Manchester United entered this game with no points, was the error-strewn performances of Andre onana in the last two matches.
Well, the Cameroon international deserves credit for his role in this game. He was alert from the first whistle and deserved his clean sheet.
In particular he produced an outstanding diving save in the second half when the game was 0-0. This won’t get the credit it deserves – but we acknowledge his big contribution.
And that wasn’t it. Manchester United conceded a late penalty – with Andre Onana saving it in the 95th minute. Just incredible!
The other game in the group looked at one stage to be heading for a bad result for Manchester United; a draw. Bayern won it in the end, winning 3-1. That was the result we wanted.