Let’s face it. While Manchester United could have snatched victory last night there was little doubt who the best team were. If Manchester United had found a smash and grab route to the next round it would not have been because they played better football. But there were some real positives in defeat. The good news is that the future looks brighter than many have predicted.
Chris Smalling – it is debatable and impossible to know whether Rio would have been the better choice for this game. Manchester United played very deep again so they weren’t exposed on the counter regularly. Smalling’s pace wasn’t really needed.
You could also easily find an argument to suggest that Rio’s superior distribution would have given Manchester United a better foundation for attacks. But one thing is clear. Smalling had a cracking game. Gone were the mistakes that he made at right back. Here was a boy becoming man in one 90 minute spell. Manchester United may not need to spend tens of millions on the heart of their defence after all.
Phil Jones – We strongly agree with The Telegraph, who wrote that Ribery is on of the most overrated players on the planet. But Phil Jones dealt with him and anyone else that came down his flank. He gave a superb performance and wasn’t even playing in his natural position. This guy will be a Manchester United great.
Kagawa – David Moyes finally seems to have understood the value of Kagawa in the last few weeks. For a team that struggles to keep possession leaving The Japanese out of the side is footballing Hari Kari. He has looked like he’s on his way out of Manchester United for most of the season but we sincerely hope that Moyes and Kagawa have changed their minds of late. At 24 this guy can become Manchester United’s David Silva.
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