Manchester United vs LASK: 5 Things we learned.

French Connection: Anthony Martial celebrates scoring the winning goal with French teammate Paul Pogba. 

Image taken from: The Evening Standard. 


Manchester United are through to the quarter finals of the Europa League thanks to a 2-1 win at old Trafford on Wednesday evening (7-1 on aggregate). A win is a win but United will have been disappointed with the overall team performance. The Red Devil’s fell behind thanks to a fantastic long-range effort from Philipp Weisinger. However, their opponents lead only lasted for 94 seconds when Jesse Lingard slotted home to bring the hosts level. Anthony Martial then came off the bench to win the game, linking up nicely with Juan Mata and finishing through the keeper’s legs. United now head to Cologne to play FC Copenhagen in the quarter finals of the competition. 

Here are the five things we learned:

 

1.      United’s squad is just not good enough.

The players on the fringe of the first team did themselves absolutely no favours tonight. In fact, some of them may not have only played their way out of the first 11 for the rest of the Europa League campaign but out of the club too. You could argue that a lot of these players haven’t played many games recently, but I think that’s little excuse for some of the performances on show tonight. Players trying to pull of extravagant touches and complicated passes that they are just not capable of, it just made them look worse. United need to be ruthless this summer and start to shape a squad that can be trusted but more importantly one that is good enough for Manchester United. 

2. United will need to play their strongest 11 in every game if they are to win the tournament.

I’m sure manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær would have loved to have had the luxury of been able to rotate and use his squad to win the Europa League. However, with the games coming thick and fast and the quality of opponent going up I’m in no doubt United will probably have to play their best 11 in the remaining games. We’ve seen since the restart, even when we make one or two slight changes to the team the drop off is massive and the team suffers. Key players got rested tonight and that’s a positive because they will need to be fresh and ready to go if The Reds are to have any chance of becoming Europa League Champions

3. Tahith Chong could be a good option off the bench for Solskjær.

Chong came off the bench and was impressive for me and because he has hardly been involved since the restart, he is a player who will not be weighed down by the baggage of pressure and criticism. If he’s given opportunities to come on and affect games, he may feel he can play with a freedom to express himself where others don’t seem to have that at the moment. He is a player with great potential and the kind of player that could impact a game in a big way when the opposing team are tiring in the last 15 minutes of a game.

4. This may have been Juan Mata’s final Old Trafford appearance.

If this was to be Juan Mata’s Old Trafford swan song, then he did it in typical Juan Mata style with a brace of assists. It may not have been his greatest performance, but he made both of United’s goals and his experience may just have seen the team to the win tonight. Who knows whether he will have a part to play in the latter stages of the tournament, but he is a popular member of the squad among players and fans alike. There have been strong rumours that he will leave the club this summer and if that’s the case he will leave with us all with fond memories of him during his time at the club.

5. Teden Mengi made his professional debut for United.

To end on a positive note Teden Mengi made his professional debut for Manchester United tonight. He was given a ten-minute run out. I’m sure it would have been a proud moment for him and his family. He can now look forward to what will hopefully be a bright future with United. He is clearly a player the manager rates, he’s been training with the first team for a large portion of the season and Solskjaer has included him in his 30-man squad for the latter stages of the Europa League. 

Author: TUD Author