It was far from a classic Manchester United performance in their narrow extra-time victory over FC Copenhagen in the Europa League quarterfinals, but they got there in the end. Here is how we rated the individual performances.
Sergio Romero: N/A
Here are the keys to being a great Cup ‘Keeper: 1. Play against mostly second-rate opposition. 2. Don’t screw up on those rare occasions when you actually have to do something.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 6/10
He didn’t look as run down as he did towards the end of the league season, but still some way short of his form at the beginning of the year. Went to ground too easily more than once, and didn’t contribute enough going forward. He needs time off, but given the (lack of) quality of his back-ups, he’s not getting it.
Eric Bailly: 6/10
Bailly would be a perfect partner for Maguire if he could stay fit, and maybe not do 2-3 things in a match that almost give us a collective heart attack. One out of two today.
Harry Maguire: 6/10
Didn’t have much in the way of actual defending to do today aside from some standard clearances, but played some impressive through balls to start attacks. Maybe one day, sometime in the future, when he gets his head on the end of a corner it will actually come to something.
Brandon Williams: 6/10
Got forward more on the overlap that he has recently, even if his final ball was lacking. Held his own defensively, and got into it with ex-Red Guillermo Varela. Extra points for having that nasty streak.
Paul Pogba: 7/10
Pogba has put in one tidy, well-rounded midfield performance after another since the restart. Today was a day he needed to impose himself more. Still, he had some important defensive contributions, and he largely kept up his activity levels for the duration of the match, when many of his teammates were starting to flounder.
Bang average day at the office for Pastor Fred. Had one errant pass that nearly lead to a Copenhagen goal, but was solid other than that. No question he should be ahead of McTominay in the midfield pecking order, but he hasn’t done enough to displace Matić either.
Mason Greenwood: 6/10
Had a cracking finish ruled out for offside, and another sweetly struck shot come off the inside of the post.
Bruno Fernandes: 6/10
We got a microcosm of The Bruno Experience today. Misplaced too many passes that he shouldn’t have, but also continued to prod and probe and try to pick a way through the Copenhagen defense. And even when he’s just okay, he doesn’t miss from the spot.
Marcus Rashford: 5/10
Frustrating day for the doc; seemed isolated, but also ran himself into the ground for the team. He’s recently added an improved passing range from that inside left position to his repertoire, but he couldn’t get the weight on most of those diagonal passes right today. He also wasn’t helped by the referee letting the opposition kick the stuffing out of him at will.
Anthony Martial: 8/10
United’s most consistent player since the restart, and most dangerous player today. He’s a proper modern number 9 now, and his hold-up play and attacking combinations were top drawer again, even in an otherwise disjointed team performance. Forced a number of saves, and won the key penalty. If not for the display of the opposing ‘keeper, Tony could’ve easily had a brace. On top of his all-around improvement, his fitness is now as good as any in the squad.
Nemanja Matić: 6/10
Matić was a steady presence after being brought on. Always good to have a grown up on hand to calm the nerves, even if Matić gave away a dangerous free kick late in extra time.
Victor Lindelöf: 6/10
Spent the 20 minutes of regulation time for which he was on the pitch not having much to do, and spent most of extra time getting forward to join the attack. Missed a good look at goal at the end of the first half of extra time.
Juan Mata: 7/10
Bringing on Mata when the team needs fresh legs and energy — especially when the player going off is the future best finisher in the history of football (allow us a wee bit of hyperbole) — seemed an odd move. But Mata’s passes between the lines immediately got United going, and it was his precise pass played into Martial that helped win the penalty. Mata was lively, and provided just the spark that a tired United team needed.
Jesse Lingard: N/A
Came on to do some running around and give Rashford a desperately-needed breather.
Scott McTominay: 10/10
Was on the pitch for 75 seconds. Can’t misplace passes or dither in possession if you never touch the ball.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 6/10
Solskjaer was probably right to start with a strong team, and Bailly and Fred arguably earned their places. The manager should have been able to recognize how physically jaded his players were though, and given the impact of Mata’s introduction (and Lingard’s recent uptick in form), Solskjaer should have found a way to make changes sooner and perhaps avoid extra time.