Manchester United laboured to a 1-0 win over FC Astana in their Europa league opener.
Despite a bright start, the goal just wouldn’t come. United were looking more and more devoid of ideas, until Mason Greenwood turned his man in the box and fired through the goalkeeper’s legs.
Here are three players who showed they need to improve based on this display:
NEMANJA MATIC – Many think his time at the club is up already, and this display did little to change people’s minds. Matic played the game like it was against FC Astana. He should be playing every game like it’s against Liverpool. There was no pace or creativity about his play, it was just side ways passes. Couple that with his inability to use his right foot and you’ve got a very exasperating performance. He was effective at winning the ball back, but who wasn’t in this game? It is more likely United would have find a way through early on if McTominay was playing, just down to the energy he adds in midfield.
DIOGO DALOT – Dalot is a player that could have a bright future at Manchester United, but he was very frustrating in this game. He took up good positions and was fed the ball a lot, but his delivery was uncharacteristically poor. He seemed to insist on playing high floating crosses into a box containing Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford. Whilst Rashford has scored headers in his time, these are players who need the ball at their feet. Dalot was also lacking any urgency in his game, but it’s worth bearing in mind he’s just come back from injury. He’s got a wonderful ability to beat his man and get to the by-line, nut he comes back inside to the midfield a bit too often
TAHITH CHONG – It’s never nice to criticise promising young players, but Tahith Chong looked very lightweight against Astana. Whilst putting on muscle is very risky for young players if not done properly, Chong gets shrugged off the ball far too easily. His touch also seemed heavy at times. There is undoubtedly a very talented player there, but his dejected demeanour as he trudged round the pitch after being subbed off showed how he felt about not taking this opportunity. He looks erratic at times when he gets the ball, causing him to misplace a pass or trip over his own feet. This is probably down to a reliance on speed and a desperation to impress.
United will be happy to have put out a significantly weaker team in this fixture and come away with a win. Unfortunately, it was a missed opportunity to score some goals and improve the mood around the club. United’s next Europa League game is a trip to face AZ Alkmaar, kicking off at 17:55pm on Thursday October 3rd.