Date: 14th February 2013 at 3:30am
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De Gea – Having received a whole lot of stick recently it was always going to be interesting to see how he would react when the pressure was on, and it’s safe to say he did himself proud. Having produced one of the best saves I’ve ever seen to keep the game level early on, he soon followed up with one tremendous save after another. Surely this is the last we’ll hear from his critics? 9

Rafael – It was always going to be a really difficult job facing Ronaldo on that side of the pitch but a change of tactics from Mourinho’s men saw playing out wide instead, thus rendering Rafael bewildered. Credit to him though, we worked hard all game and never stopped fighting. 6

Ferdinand – Showed for the ball at times when the midfield needed an outlet and always looked calm on the ball which passed on to the rest of the defence. He kept things simple and yet was brilliantly effective both on and off the ball. 8
Evans – A real test of character for young Jonny and he passed with flying colours. Looking back just a year ago and comparing his performance in our 6-1 loss to to his performance tonight really makes you appreciate how far he’s come. 7

Evra – With Rafael pinned down, Patrice had a fairly quiet game but that meant he was caught out on a few occasions late on with him tucking in too deep. He was unlucky not to win us a sending off after he was through on goal only to be brought down by their last man. 6

Welbeck – I predicted he would start due to his defensive contributions, but I did not envisage him scoring one of our biggest goals this season. Who better to score it than a player who’s Manchester through and through? Worked hard, needed to be patient and was duly rewarded. Perfect. 8

Jones – Quick to close down any spaces in midfield and stopped Ronaldo from cutting in on goal. Finally shaping up to be ‘that player’ most have been crying out for. He got stuck in and gave Madrid little time and room to passes as they pleased. 8

Carrick – Like Rio, he kept a cool head and made sure we held on to whatever little we saw of the ball. Always played the right pass rather than thumping it forward when faced under pressure. I prefer seeing him in this ‘advanced’ role with Jones playing more defensive in the midfield. 8

Kagawa – It just didn’t happen for him tonight. I do not doubt his quality but when the going got tough today, he seemed too ‘one-dimensional’ and unable to adjust his play to our new defensive setup and long-ball tactics. Expected more from someone of his calibre. 4

Rooney – It’s fair to say he didn’t have the best of games either. He worked hard in the first half and was forced to play difficult passes from deep which excuses any passing stats you might bring up, but as the second half panned out, his poor technical ability was really exposed as Real pressed higher up and gave him less room on the ball which resulted in countless misplaced passes and intercepted dribbles. 4

Van Persie – A magnificent performance from a magnificent player. At times he looked like a magician on the pitch capable of creating something from nothing, and on another day he could have had a hatrick if not for a goal-line clearance, a great ‘keeper save and the crossbar. 8

Subs:

Giggs – Added some much needed composure to our play and even had the energy and drive to drop deep and defend well when needed. Received a standing ovation when coming on. Legend. 8

Valencia – Added very little to our game when coming on and gave away a few poor fouls. 5

Anderson – If we’d have conceded from his sloppy mistake late on, Sir Alex would have probably physically assaulted him. 2

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