Barring absolute disaster, Manchester United’s place in the UEFA Europa League last eight is all-but secure.
The Red Devils blitzed LASK Linz 5-0 away from home, meaning Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can completely rest his senior players for the Old Trafford leg – although we’re not sure when that’ll be due to the coronavirus.
Solskjaer deserves immense credit for making everyone in this squad play better. Jose Mourinho, who is widely regarded as one of the best in the business, simply couldn’t do that.
The confidence is flowing and after absolutely smashing LASK, no fewer than six United stars have been named in the UEFA Europa League Team of the Week. In all my years of doing this (ten to be precise), I’ve never seen so many Red Devils in one TOTW. The best part about it? All of them deserve to be in there.
Let’s start from the back with the full-backs. Ironically, Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams have been in direct competition with each other for the last few months, but yesterday, they both started and played superbly. It was Williams who’d move over to the right. He definitely didn’t look out of place.
Eric Bailly is looking back to his best following serious injury and it’s great to see. He was super in the air, quick enough to track the runners while his positional sense was excellent throughout. A real quality outing.
Then you have Fred who picked up two assists on the night. His unbelievable through ball into Juan Mata to make it three pretty much sealed the deal. The Brazilian is improving with each passing game.
Onto Daniel James, who has come in for some criticism recently. Some of it deserved, but his last two outings have been great. No doubt he’s benefitting from some intermittent rest of late as he took his goal with aplomb.
Finally, we have man of the moment Odion Ighalo. Everyone was sceptical of this move when it happened, let’s get that right. However, what he’s done on the field more than justifies United’s decision to sanction this short-term loan deal. His outrageously good goal got the 20-time Premier League champions on their way and Ighalo didn’t look back. Brilliant.
Well done, lads!