What is it about Manchester United wearing dodgy shirts and beating PSG in the Champions League? I think that performance might change my mind about the shirts to be honest. Does anyone else wish Old Trafford moved to Paris? We seem unbeatable there! It really was the work of 11 players putting everything on the line for the badge. It was a performance that harked back to the end of last season.
Once again it was Marcus Rashford at the Parc des Princes scoring a late winner after a tactical masterclass from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. We needed a late goal to win it again. But the truth is that, for anyone watching, we were much the better team the whole way through. Although my heart is still beating hard and it may well do for the next week, here is Millsy’s View for The United Devils with your Champions League analysis:
Coming into the game, many fans were obviously feeling a bit reserved. Our captain was missing as well as Mason Greenwood, with Paul Pogba once again on the bench. The nerves were clear to see from the players as well. They started rather reservedly against an obviously favoured side that reached the Champions League final last season. After a while, the players realised that their opponents were not as concentrated. They were not as willing to put themselves through what ours were.
The first ten minutes generally went Manchester United’s way, whilst the second ten went PSG’s way. David de Gea put in a performance of old whilst making a fantastic save against Kurzawa from 4 yards out. His performances have been put into question recently but he showed the type of man he is tonight.
We opened up our play after that and were eventually rewarded with a penalty, Anthony Martial being fouled in the box. Bruno Fernandes needed two goes at it but he eventually gave us a deserved lead. You would’ve thought that it would’ve woken this Paris Saint-Germain side. However, they showed barely anything of what they are capable of. A lot of this is credit to our midfield. The incoming Scott McTominay and Fred were absolutely excellent defensively and gave our team a real assured performance. All in all, it was a generally quiet first half, fitting with the crowd-less stadium.
Second Half Part One
At the start of the second half, a few small cracks started to show within the Manchester United defence. A couple minutes into the half a deflected cross rattled the crossbar of David de Gea. It was as if to give a warning sign to our defence to wake back up again. A shot from Mbappe a couple minutes later produced another fantastic save from De Gea to keep it out.
One aspect that we did improve on tonight and that I have been moaning about for a while is our corners. Without Thiago Silva in the middle for them, Scott McTominay could’ve scored 2 or 3 tonight. Alex Telles, on his debut for the club, in the Champions League no doubt, put in some dangerous in-swingers . They caused havoc in the Paris defence and he looked generally impressive the whole game.
After that, disaster struck. Out of nowhere, PSG put in a corner only for Anthony Martial to head it into his own net and leave David de Gea defenceless. It was a careless moment in an otherwise focused performance. The pain was written across his face.
Again, you would’ve thought that this goal would’ve woken PSG up. Although they started to put a little extra pressure on the Manchester United backline, they never really looked like piercing it. Axel Tuanzebe, making his first appearance for Manchester United in over a year played flawlessly, completely defying his young age and keeping Kylian Mbappe stunningly quiet.
Second Half Part Two
Although PSG upped the pressure, Manchester United still looked like the most dangerous side on the pitch. Marcus Rashford MBE broke clear on the PSG defence several times. Had we been more clinical in our final ball, we could’ve retaken the lead several times. The clock slowly ticked down though, just edging past the 85-minute mark, then the 86th and many United fans will have been beginning to lose hope.
Then, up step the aforementioned Rashford, who again came through in Paris, in the Champions League, when it mattered the most. He found himself a pocket of space. He drove through the PSG defence. Then he smashed a shot past the keeper and in off the post to send United fans into absolute delirium again. It was a goal that everyone could see coming a mile off. But not many could believe would arrive soon enough. But it did and Manchester United start the Champions League group stage with a win away to PSG.
Honestly, it’s hard to pick out our best performer on the night. Tuanzebe was solid, Wan-Bissaka’s tackling was inch-perfect, Fred and McTominay were rocks, David de Gea was a wall and our front three caused mayhem. It was a real team performance that warranted a win against last year’s Champions League finalists. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, divisive amongst non-reds, showed once again his tactical guile to shut down the explosive PSG attack and keep a player like Kylian Mbappe completely out of the game. It was brilliant from start to finish, minus a minor hiccup from Martial.
I was one of those originally unsure about this game, but now I cannot wait to play RB Leipzig next week. If we play like this again, there is no reason why we cannot qualify from a group containing half of last years Champions League semi-finalists.