Ander Herrera produced another stellar performance at the heart of midfield during Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Saint Etienne in the Europa League last 32 on Thursday night.
The Spaniard initially struggled to deal with ASSE’s raw energy in the centre of the park, but quickly took hold of proceedings alongside Paul Pogba. By the end, he was essentially toying with Christophe Galtier’s men.
A quick look at his stats sheds light on the commanding nature of his display against the French side.
Ander Herrera's game by numbers vs. St-Etienne:
89% pass accuracy
81 passes completed
5 tackles won
Brilliant again. pic.twitter.com/WxnjcizZh3
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 16, 2017
For Herrera, some midfield battles are easy. Last Saturday’s win over Watford, for example, was one of those games that saw the 27-year-old hardly break a sweat.
And then there are games like these – encounters with powerful, in-form European opponents under the lights. This was always going to be a battle of endurance and grit. As the game went on, with Herrera looking to dominate the lively pair of Vincent Pajot and Jordan Veretout, you could tell that this was going to be one of those ‘last man standing’ midfield battles – dripping with sweat, dripping with a furious, almost primal instinct to take control of the game.
And as the last 20 minutes emphatically demonstrated, Herrera came out as the overwhelming victor.