Manchester United returned to the biggest stage in football with a bang. An assured performance at Old Trafford was capped by three different scorers; Fellaini, Lukaku and Rashford. It was a positive return to the competition for the Red Devils, who stamped their authority and will top the group after game week 1. We have rated the individual performances out of 10.
David De Gea: 6
Clean sheet for the Spaniard was well earned. Basel threatened throughout the game, and De Gea pulled off another stunning athletic save to deny Elyounoussi in the second half. Distribution was impeccable throughout.
Ashley Young: 8
Great assist for the Fellaini’s goal to make it 1-0. Up and down the right wing in the first half, helping exploit Basel’s 3-4-3 formation, Young showed his experience defensively with a stellar performance. Almost bagged a goal for himself after some trickery in the second half.
Victor Lindelöf: 6
Had a few shaky moments in the game. Could have given a penalty away in the second half after sliding rashly. He looked slightly out of place in the heart of the United backline, however, much of that can be put on his recent lack of playing time.
Chris Smalling: 6
Not a bad game on his return to the side. Limited Basel’s weak offense to a small number of chances. Smalling needs to be more commanding, especially with the rest of his backline and Lindelöf in particular if he is to cement his starting spot back in the team.
Daley Blind: 6.5
Assist for Lukaku was the highlight of a solid performance from the Dutchman. Defensively he was strong and got forward when appropriate.
Paul Pogba: 6
The Frenchman captained United in Mourinho’s first Champions League game as United’s manager. His helm was short-lived after reaching for a ball and appearing to strain his hamstring. Fellaini replaced him after 19 minutes. However, he was his usual strong, creative presence on the field until coming off.
Nemanja Matić: 7.5
Matić is looking the bargain signing of the summer transfer window. Another rock solid performance where he controlled the midfield excellently. He may not grab headlines, but Matić is proving that he is a central part of Mourinho’s plans.
Juan Mata: 6.5
Mata proved clever in moments but struggled to make a big impact as he returned to the starting line-up. The tightness of Basel’s defensive shape did not help Mata’s desire to come inside from the wing and get on the ball. Some cute trickery and superb vision shows why he is still quality for this side.
Henrik Mkhitaryan: 6.5
Looked lively throughout the game. End product somewhat lacking; should’ve opened United’s account after hitting the post in the 6-yard box. Mkhitaryan is enjoying a much better second season with the Red Devils, but a goal to cap off some great performances is needed.
Anthony Martial: 6.5
Missing in the first half, as most of the action came from United’s right side. Lively start in the second half, creating chances as he cut inside from the left onto his favored right foot.
Romelu Lukaku: 8
Bright start, and could’ve scored after 2 minutes. Chances seemed to fade in the first half somewhat. Found the net with a powerful header 53 minutes in. Lukaku was a constant handful for the Basel backline, operating as a target man. His goal scoring prowess speaks for itself: 6 in 6 for the big man.
Jesse Lingard (Sub, 69’): 6
Looked energetic off the bench. Needs to produce off the bench to remove Martial and Rashford from starting.
Marcus Rashford (Sub, 77’): 7
On for only a matter of minutes before calmly slotting home from Fellaini’s cross. The boy wonder continues to impress on all stages.
Marouane Fellaini (Sub, 19’): 8.5 (Man of the Match)
Excellent performance by the Belgian and my man of the match. Scored with a typical Fellaini header in the first half to break the deadlock. Proved a quality replacement for Pogba, filling the role superbly. With Matić holding it allowed Fellaini to move further up the field, grabbing an assist for Rashford after combining with his fellow Belgian, Lukaku.
José Mourinho: 7
Had faith in Fellaini after the early departure of Pogba and his trust proved invaluable on his return to Champions League football. Brought on the pacey Lingard and Rashford at the right time to finish the game off. Good tactics, and a solid performance from the Gaffer.