Manchester United player ratings v Club Brugge

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Football News

European football returned to Old Trafford on Tuesday night as Manchester United met Belgian side Club Brugge in the Champions League play-off round.

Louis van Gaal's men went behind but came back strong to emerge 3-1 victors.

Here's how United's players performed on the night.


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The Argentines positioning was questionable when he conceded Michael Carrick's first-half own goal. The 28-year-old was not extensively tested but looked shaky at times, not least when he was slow to respond to a back pass in the second half. Can he really be United's long-term number one? The juries still out.


The Englishman is looking noticeably trimmer and more importantly fitter at the start of the new season. The youngster played quite high throughout the game and was caught out on occasion in the first half. However he regularly displayed blistering pace in attack. A tremendous effort to atone for his own error in the second half started a rapid counter attack that should have ended with a goal for Memphis Depay.


Needless to say, United fans were less than pleased with the prospect of Daley Blind playing centre-back before the season started. Yet three games in and the Dutchman has done little wrong. Blind put in an assured performance against Brugge, bringing the ball out from the back and displaying his defensive qualities. Hopefully his partnership with Chris Smalling will continue to strengthen.


After all the talk of United needing a new centre-half, Chris Smalling has been like a new signing for them in their first three games. The England international put in another commanding performance in defence. He had the answer to everything Brugge's attackers threw at him and continues to look far more composed on the ball. Though he'll be disappointed not to score with a late header, this was another excellent showing from Smalling.


It hasn't taken long for the Italian to firmly establish himself in the team. This performance was typical of his season so far, good in both defence and attack. Like Shaw, he was sometimes exposed for playing so high but his overall performance was again terrific. Received a somewhat harsh booking booking in the second half but conducted himself well throughout the game.


Carrick's night had the worst possible start as he diverted Brugge's free-kick into his own net after eight minutes. Thankfully for United the experienced midfielder responded well to this early set back. The Englishman produced a wonderful ball for Memphis Depay's first goal. Subbed again at half time after an average showing.


Champions League football was one of the main reasons the midfielder left Southampton, so the Frenchman will be desperate to make the group stage. Schneiderlin went about his business in a professional manner, protecting the back four well and producing a few top class balls. The open nature of the game allowed him to get further forward though his play in the final third sometimes let him down. Another solid if unspectacular performance.


After all the hype surrounding United's new boy, his first two appearances in the Premier League were rather underwhelming. This European night brought out the very best in the 21-year-old. Every time the Dutchman got the ball you could sense the excitement around Old Trafford. His first goal was a superb display of skill and composure while his second was a goal any player would've been proud of. He wasn't finished there though, as he produced a Beckham-esque cross for United's third goal. Failure to convert at the end of a glorious second half move prevents him from getting a perfect ten.


Awarded his second consecutive start after scoring against Aston Villa. The Belgian showed flashes of his undoubted talent but struggled to make a significant impact on the game. The youngster was played through in the first half but lacked strength and went down too easily looking for a penalty. He was replaced by Javier Hernandez in the second-half.


Whenever you watch Mata in this current United set-up you can't help but feel they're not getting the best out of him. Van Gaal seems reluctant to play him in his favoured number ten position, thus he's not performing as well as he can do. That's not to say he did bad, when he came inside he looked far more dangerous than out wide. He'll feel he could have impacted on the game more but his position was largely to blame for this.


United fans have been crying out for Rooney to be released to play up front for a year. When he finally is, he looks incapable of playing in the position. The United captain will be frustrated once again with his performance. He produced some excellent cross field balls and a delicious back-heel for Memphis, but he simply wasn't a goal threat. Once again he spent much of his time anywhere apart from up front. His touch and passing was at times sloppy and he had no clear cut chances. Serious questions will continue to be asked as to whether he can play as a lone striker.


Bastian Schweinsteiger - 7

The German replaced Michael Carrick at half time. He may not be the player he was five years ago but he showed he can be effective coming off the bench. The World Cup winner visibly orchestrated United's play in the second half. He may no longer have the legs but he still knows how to pass the ball.

Javier Hernandez - 5

Many will be surprised that the Mexican is still at the club. The stage seemed set for him, United needed a goal, who better than the infamous poacher? Despite his goal scoring history Chicharito failed to make an impression after coming on, in fact he was hardly mentioned. His long-term future remains in doubt.

Marouane Fellaini - 8

Suspended from the first three Premier League games due to suspension the big Belgian needed to reintroduce himself to the fans and indeed the manager. Brought on as an aerial presence with United chasing a third goal, Fellaini provided just that. Unsurprisingly he won everything in the air. With the referee about to blow for full time he coolly headed in in the 94th minuted. It could be a crucial goal in the course of the tie.

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Louis van Gaal
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United

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