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Ratings: Fosu-Mensah and Bailly shine in Europa League victory

Manchester United took 70 minutes to break down a disciplined Zorya Luhansk side that showed good defensive resilience but barring a lucky opportunity for Zlatan Ibrahimovic that resulted in a goal, the game was quite dire overall. United’s players, seemingly disenchanted with the entire idea of the Europa League, often struggled to move the ball at pace due to a few tactical deficiencies in the side. Zorya Luhansk, in the meanwhile, used pace on the counter to try and break United down in the easiest way possible. Because of this, defensive efforts from Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, and Marouane Fellaini were key.

However, the same three players hindered United’s attack heavily, failing to play the ball forward at pace and allowing Zorya to reorganize every time United won the ball. For this reason, United could not create chances and Zorya Luhansk actually had the first shot on target shortly before Ibrahimovic made it 1-0 in the 69th minute. Ultimately, though, if United wants to win the Europa League, the result is the most important aspect of the match, and watching United on the night, they never looked like losing the match. However, a much better performance will be needed if United is to triumph against Fenerbahce, a high-quality side in comparison to United’s lowly Ukrainian opponents.

Goals: Zlatan Ibrahimovic 69′

Assists: Wayne Rooney 69′

Manchester United: Romero; Fosu-Mensah (Martial 74′), Bailly, Smalling, Rojo; Fellaini, Pogba; Lingard (Rooney 67′), Mata (Young 74′), Rashford; Ibrahimovic

Substitutes Not Used: Johnstone; Memphis, Carrick, Schneiderlin

Bookings: Eric Bailly 63′

Manchester United

20 Sergio Romero

Didn’t have much to do but did his job when called upon and made a couple of good saves.

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24 Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Got forward with promising pace and put a couple of decent crosses in, including the one that made the goal. Needs to start for United. Replaced by Martial.

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3 Eric Bailly

The best player on the pitch again for United. Ensured that Fosu-Mensah could attack all game by covering an incredible amount of defensive ground.

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12 Chris Smalling

Captained the side in defence. Solid play when called upon.

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5 Marcos Rojo

Looked promising going forward, had nothing to do in defence. Didn’t influence anything, ultimately, though he usually influences negatively, so this is progress.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

Struggled on the ball throughout. Slow in attacking play. Not really his fault- the system didn’t suit him because there was a reliance on him to play the ball 5-15 yards forward at a high pace.

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6 Paul Pogba

Controlled the entire game. Couldn’t get on the scoresheet or create a goal, but he caused plenty of problems throughout the match.

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14 Jesse Lingard

His runs are very important to United’s system, but I could see Henrikh Mkhitaryan in his role eventually. Replaced by Rooney.

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8 Juan Mata

Put Fosu-Mensah through for the cross that created the goals. He tied everything together and was very tidy on the ball.

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19 Marcus Rashford

Smashed the bar with a stunning effort. Good running and the opposition fouled him many times, but couldn’t influence the match.

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10 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Dropped incredibly deep at times to try and influence proceedings. Took his goal well.

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Substitutes

Ratings: Fosu-Mensah and Bailly shine in Europa League victory

Replaced Lingard. His involvement in the goal was diabolical, but his positioning was solid regardless of the fact he was difficult to watch when he got the ball.

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18 Ashley Young

Replaced Mata. Didn’t have time to influence the match.

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11 Anthony Martial

Replaced Fosu-Mensah. Looked like he was in central midfield. Had no time to influence the match.

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Written by Aaron Moniz

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