José Mourinho accused some of his players of not wanting to play in the game, and in all honesty, it showed. It would’ve been hard to determine who was the Premier League side and who was the Championship side. Matteo Darmian was exposed far too often, Blind was poor apart from a phenomenal tackle, and Ibrahimović shook the dust off with a thunderous strike, here are our player ratings.
Sergio Romero: 6
Made some crucial saves in the first-half when Bristol City looked most threatening. For the most part, he dealt with the aerial threat that came from multiple corners and long throws, either punching or claiming with authority. Could do little to stop both goals, especially the first, which even David De Gea would struggle to save.
Matteo Darmian: 5
The Italian has been second string to the steady Antonio Valencia this season. He was given his chance tonight, but never looked comfortable in front of a hostile crowd and an upbeat opposition. He was beat on multiple occasions, and both goals came from his side.
Victor Lindelöf: 6
Arguably United’s best defender in the game. He was assured on the ball and dealt with the press effectively. Even when facing his goal, he rarely looked flustered and coped well with Bristol’s aggressive work-rate. The young Swede has definitely improved his game since he looked shaky in his opening matches.
Marcos Rojo: 5.5
Still not quite up-to-speed after returning from his injury, Rojo was severely outpaced for the opening goal. He was fairly composed on the ball but struggled defensively, being caught out of position on numerous occasions.
Luke Shaw: 6.5
Shaw defended effectively in this game, limiting the chances coming down the left-hand side. Ex-Manchester United youngster Josh Brownhill proved a threat throughout the game with his pace and trickery, but Shaw dealt with the danger for the majority of the game. He was the rare United defender that looked to venture forward in the game.
Daley Blind: 5
Surprisingly started in the midfield and looked out of place throughout the game. He was slow on the ball and was often caught in possession. His lone saving grace was the remarkable tackle he made late in the first-half to keep the game scoreless.
Scott McTominay: 6
The young academy product was given his second start in as many games by Mourinho, who obviously has faith in McTominay. Once again he looked, for the most part, composed on and off the ball. He rashly swung at a few attempts on goal, missing the target, however, it shows how confident he is.
Paul Pogba: 6.5
After a rusty opening 15 minutes, Pogba returned to his usual impressive self, being United’s creative outlet in the midfield. Some of the passes he provided were exquisite and he had a couple attempts on goal that were just off the mark. Nevertheless, he was lucky not to be sent off after another rash high challenge.
Marcus Rashford: 6
Rashford provided some sublime moments with his sensational shooting ability, hitting the post on one occasion. He struggled to find his usual impressive form in the second-half, often being frustrated. His final product was lacking.
Anthony Martial: 6.5
United’s best player in the first-half offensively. His tricky footwork and explosive speed were too much for Bristol’s defense, though he failed to produce a final product that could have influenced the game. Similarly to Rashford, he struggled in the second-half.
Zlatan Ibrahimović: 6.5
The stand-in captain for the night struggled on his first start this season for the reds before hitting a thunderous strike to draw United level. Understandably, the Swede was less than impressive compared to his form before his ACL injury; still, a remarkable achievement to even see him on the field at this point in his recovery.
Romelu Lukaku (Sub, 61’): 7
The Belgian, who is rarely experienced coming off the bench, changed the attack when he came on for Daley Blind at the hour mark. He had a couple of decent efforts that were well-saved by Steele.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Sub, 69’): 5.5
Mkhitaryan returned to action after nearly a month on the sidelines. He gave the ball away cheaply, but tried to give United an energetic spark.
Chris Smalling (Sub, 90’): N/A
Too late for a rating.
José Mourinho: 5
The manager was unable to find the right formation to deal with Bristol City’s energetic pressing style, especially in the first half. He blamed his players for not wanting to turn-up and play. His subs had an impact, but not enough to get the win.