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Ratings: Lingard and Valencia shine as United jump fifth

Did it seem like one of those days right? Opponents dropping points, facing each other and United had the best chance to win this and move to fifth. Well, the feeling sure started when the supporters saw the lineup.

Mkhitaryan, Rojo, Martial and Shaw in the bench while they had already been used to the idea that Herrera, Pogba, and Zlatan weren’t able for the game. A lineup that seemed like a 3-4-3 and nobody liked it because Fellaini and Lingard were starting.

Rashford was upfront giving a glimpse of hope, but in contrast to many supporters, I was positive that United would comfortably win this.
The game started not in the best way possible as the visitors weren’t being clear about what they wanted as Middlesbrough was being cynical and ball possession spoke in their favour. Rashford leading that attack meant that the home side would have problems on controlling him. It was indeed like this, but the young English definitely must work on his finishing as he had an early chance to save a lot of problems to Jose Mourinho.

However, an unusual hero was spotted today as Fellaini gave United the lead to calm things down and in this way, the team would control the game.

Not having the chance to show off what he is capable of since the game against Saints in Wembley, Lingard had his say as well as he scored a beautiful goal to make it 2-0 United. The problem was, however, just like in many games this season is that United trust themselves and stop caring like the game had already finished. Of course, with the help of the majestic duo of defenders on their side, Middlesbrough had it all easy to score and put pressure on United in the last minutes.

As the home side was at the peak of their pressure towards United, Valencia benefitting from a terrible mistake from Valdes closed the case and it finished 3-1 United.
As United finally move from the sixth place, here are the player ratings for today’s game:

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper didn't have much to do during the first half except from one shot immediately after United scored that he had to save. Always ready to make a good save. Couldn't do much in the goal as the defence let him down.

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12 Chris Smalling

Saved United on two occasions, but has been shaky in other chances and having him around doesn't make Jose Mourinho feel safe. His stupid decision of not clearing the ball in time saw Middlesbrough score. Three other bad decisions could have cost United a lot.

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4 Phil Jones

We are still looking for the Jones of the first four games he played in a United shirt this season. The ball has gone past him three times, has made some silly decisions that put the team in a huge risk. He should probably wake up.

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3 Eric Bailly

One of the few players that have done right today. Fabio surely seemed frustrated every time he has faced him. The Brazilian simply couldn't with Bailly as he was always there, solid and giving United the security they needed.

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25 Antonio Valencia

Keeps pushing forward, things in the right are safe and he has helped the attack as well with two or three chances where the front players should have done better. It's the same in the second half, benefited from Valdez's terrible mistake and score to make 1-3.

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16 Michael Carrick

The importance of a player like him can be seen in moments like this when the team starts panicking. Those last minutes tackles were vital to the side to save the lead. If it weren't for him, United would have conceded at least three times.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

He scored today and kept it simple. Not what we all ask from a defensive midfielder and he hasn't been on top in that aspect, however, did well to keep United ahead.

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18 Ashley Young

This new system has given him a new role that has suited him at times. As it has switched from 3 to 5 in the back, Young did a good defensive work and went up front nicely when needed. Amazing cross on Fellaini's opener.

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8 Juan Mata

Did well today. The mess created in the lineup didn't show the importance of the Spaniard, but the maturity he has to send the team upfront was surely missed after he left the pitch.

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19 Marcus Rashford

An early chance that could have seen United ahead but he seem more confident that he should have been on finishing the chance. Rashford has torn Middlesbrough apart today as in every move his pace was magnificent but his finishing hasn't been great. He needs those moments and should take those chances.

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14 Jesse Lingard

A lovely pass to Rashford and his link with the young lad has been great today. Needs to work more obviously especially in his shots. United could have seen the lead earlier if he had scored. Beautiful goal from him, showing off skills and movement from his last game in Wembley.

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Substitutes

5 Marcos Rojo

Came in for Mata. As soon as he got in he imposed his game. Did better than Jones and Smalling helping the team in difficult moments. Surely someone that has found his way back in the team in a great way.

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11 Anthony Martial

Came in for Lingard. The French didn't have much impact in the game but was in a position to defend for any issues coming in there.

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36 Matteo Darmian

Came in for Rashford. Didn't have any time to make any type of impact.

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Written by Fabiola Cejku

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