Winning away in Europe against a side like Galatasaray is always a big ask – so I am sure most United fans can appreciate the magnitude of the job in hand with the likes of Van Persie, Rooney, Ferdinand, Evra and Valencia missing.
Despite the game finishing in a 1-0 defeat, I have taken many positives, unlike the horrorshow on display at Carrow Road three days prior.
Michael Carrick looks increasingly likely to become a central defender when he reaches his twilight years; a million times more comfortable in this role than when he first found himself there at Craven Cottage a few years back.
Both Cleverley and Anderson demonstrated great energy and enterprise in the middle of the park – something which was lacking at the weekend.
Hernandez and Welbeck were lively and constantly had the Turkish side on the back foot; showing great pace and movement. The only thing lacking was the finish.
Buttner and Lindegaard seem to be gaining in confidence with every additional minute they find themselves playing for the first team. I am not of the believing that either will make a position their own any time soon, but they are progressing.
It was only a last season that Nick Powell was playing for Crewe Alexandra, so to step up to Champions League level and not look out of place is an achievement in itself. The young Englishman is a delight to watch; so comfortable in possession he makes the game look easy. It should not be too long until Powell is fighting for a first team place in a game that counts.
Phil Jones on the other hand does not have the grace or style of Powell, but he is a brute of a guy – Strong, quick and intelligent. You would not have guessed it was his first game back after a long term injury as there were no signs of rust or running out of steam.
Jones looked solid at the heart of the defence and won most (if not all) of the challenges he was involved in. He showed composure on the ball and organised the back four very well.
It is great to have the big lad back and he edges the Man of the Match decision.
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