After a year in the wilderness, Manchester United returned to European action by hosting Club Brugge of Belgium for the first-leg of the play-off match to reach the group stage.
United came into the game after winning their first two games of the season 1-0, which are a valuable 6 points but they still haven’t looked all that convincing. The Belgians are further into their season than the Mancunians, beating Panathinaikos 4-2 in the third qualifying round of the Champions League, in addition to 4 league games. A game that started slowly for United eventually turned into one of their best performances under Louis Van Gaal.
Wayne Rooney has claimed his critics have judged him too soon this season, insisting he’s only had one “bad game” so far and that he will prove himself over the next nine months.
The United striker was at his ineffectual worst during his side’s first two Premier League games of the campaign against Spurs and Aston Villa, and while he looked slightly better against Club Brugge on Tuesday, many are starting to doubt whether he can be the 20-goal-a-season striker Louis Van Gaal needs.
Manchester United marked their return to European football with a 3-1 win over Club Brugge last night, as goals from Memphis Depay and Marouane Fellaini put the Reds a step closer to returning to the group stages of the Champions League after last season’s absence.
Despite the result, however, things did not run as smoothly as some would have anticipated, as Brugge took an unexpected early lead and looked threatening in the first half. However, in the second 45 minutes, United stepped up a gear and produced the sort of football they had not delivered in the first two games of the season.
Here’s six key points from United’s return to Europe.
Manchester United are a step closer to returning to the Champions League proper after beating Club Brugge 3-1 in the first leg of their playoff tie.
United marked their return to European football after an 18-month hiatus with a performance that grew in confidence after the worst possible start.
Here’s five talking points from last night
Bastian Schweinsteiger said he has been left surprised by the warm reception Manchester United fans have reserved him since his arrival from Bayern Munich earlier this summer.
The 2014 World Cup winner left the German champions after 15 years at the club and has come off the bench in United’s first two league games of the season against Spurs and Villa, where he was impressed with the way fans treated him.
After a struggling 1-0 win over the Tottenham Hotspur on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, Manchester United travelled to Villa Park for a rare Friday night match against Aston Villa.
Villa fought out a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth, with Tim Sherwood playing a more aggressive brand of football but they rarely bothered United, as they notched up a second consecutive win.
Louis Van Gaal’s men were hardly entertaining and some tactical patterns are beginning to emerge yet again.
Manchester United are joint top of the league after two games, have looked unexpectedly solid at the back and are yet to concede a goal. However, that’s where the positives end for Louis Van Gaal, as his side still looks to be struggling to regain the fluidity they displayed over six games in spring last season, when United seemed to have well and truly returned to their usual, pre-Moyes selves.
With European football returning to Old Trafford tomorrow, here are five talking points from United’s first two games of the campaign.
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t entertaining but it was effective. Manchester United return from Villa Park with another three points and another clean sheet but, as it’s been characteristic of Louis Van Gaal’s tenure, there were more questions than answers.
It is hard to argue with two wins in two games, particularly given last season’s stuttering start, but United continue to look like a work in progress.
Here’s five things we have learnt from Friday night