Champions League play-off: Man United vs Club Brugge - Five things we learned
Manchester United overcame Belgian side Club Brugge 3-1 at Old Trafford in the first of the two-legged UEFA Champions League play-off tie on Tuesday.
New Delhi: Manchester United overcame Belgian side Club Brugge 3-1 at Old Trafford in the first of the two-legged UEFA Champions League play-off tie on Tuesday.
Here are the five things we learned from the game.
Memphis Depay dazzles to promise big: United's new No. 7 Memphis Depay showed why he is a complete value for the jersey number that has seen the club have some of the greatest names to play for the club. Memphis showed his intelligence in the left flank running and often cutting inwards to not only score two fantastic goals with his right foot, but also create chances with his shooting prowess. Memphis also made the assist for Marouane Fellaini and no wonder Louis van Gaal wanted to kiss him later on for his emphatic showcase.
Chris Smalling has grown as a pivotal centre back: The English international continued to excel at his position as a central defender and was the best player on the pitch. Smalling saw out Club Brugge's threat with ease and was solid fending off advances. Smalling's tackles, passing range, confidence on the ball and winning duels looked impressive. He kept the defence intact. He came close to score a goal from a corner but his headed approach was saved well by Sebastien Bruzzese.
Marouane Fellaini adds much needed vitality: Fellaini's last gasp winner has handed United breathing space on their visit to Belgium next week. The Belgian who replaced Wayne Rooney in the final moments of the game, provided the players with a cushion to get in crosses and play long balls at him. Fellaini who scored from a Memphis Depay cross in the final whistle of the match proved Van Gaal's tactical approach was spot on and why he is so crucial in the air and physically so strong.
Wayne Rooney falters but Javier Hernandez impresses in brief spell: Wayne Rooney continued his lack of form and remained a frustrated figure once again. Unnecessary ball losses and his lack of impact was visible in the game. He just had one shot on target and had a solitary bright moment in the game, back heeling a Luke Shaw cross, only for Memphis Depay to miss a sitter. Meanwhile, Javier Hernandez's brief spell on the pitch was pleasing. Hernandez stretched the Brugge side and was responsible for Mechele's second yellow card. His running and pressing was top class.
Adnan Januzaj needs consistency up his sleeves: The young Belgian was handed his second successive start this season and he looked good in patches. Januzaj was often dealt with easily by Club Brugge players and didn't give him much space to create anything. His link-up with Rooney upfront was missing and there was some ordinary passes and deliveries. He was replaced by Hernandez. Van Gaal had pointed out he needs to develop his consistency and Januzaj will hope to keep learning and get his game better.