So Manchester United’s season is still alive. Whatever happens in the next round at least Manchester United fans can savour the next month rather than averting their eyes until The World Cup.
So what were the main talking points from the game?
Rio must play – We don’t care that he’s 35. In his pomp Rio was the most complete centre back we have ever seen. Now he is the most complete centre back ever, minus 10 percent of his pace and mobility – but still worth having in your side for the composure, technique and leadership that he brings. His calm and precise passing out of defence was one of the main improvements in Manchester United last night. It’s a crime that Moyes hasn’t picked Rio more. As long as he has the mobility of Jones beside him he could play for another couple of years.
RvP – Suddenly came back to the boil on Wednesday and looked as if he cared again. With playing Rooney noticeably deeper and Mata not on the park it seems as if everyone had a natural position and space to manoeuvre. The shape of the team was good.
One Small Mata – Sky Sports talked after the game about where Mata now fits into this side – possibly the best eleven that Manchester United have put out this season in terms of teamwork. He’s cup tied for Europe but Ryan Giggs’s performance next to Carrick proved that Manchester United need a creator in there rather than another defensive midfielder. We think that Mata is perfect for the creative role that Giggs filled last night. Mata needs to play centrally but he won’t get in ahead of RvP and Roo in this fettle.
Welbeck Offers Extra Dimension– Welbeck is now a shoe in for Europe and surely the league too. He offers the pace and dynamism that has been sorely lacking at Manchester United this season.
Manchester United can’t defend like this again – While the scoreline was convincing and the defence much better with Rio, but for some shocking finishing, Olympiakos could have scored a couple. They had some gilt-edged chances and Manchester United will get punished by better teams if Jones, in particular, doesn’t improve his positional play.
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