More like it. Finally, Manchester United started a game at home how they should – on the front foot. Adnan Januzaj crashed a free-kick against the crossbar early in the game and United put Swansea under some real pressure from the first whistle.
However, the enthusiasm was short lived. Inexplicably, United took their foot off the gas and invited Swansea forward for the rest of the first half. We resorted to a counter-attacking game without actually counter-attacking. In the first half, we had one clear cut chance and Swansea had over 65% possession – it wasn’t good enough.
Thankfully, United came out in a similar fashion at the start of the second half and were rewarded this time when Antonio Valencia thundered in an effort from six yards. You could feel the relief and instead of sitting back after scoring, we pushed on and got a second through Welbeck. From that point, we never looked like losing and now we can put those three losses behind us.
That’s the United we want to see. Scratch the first half from the memory, that is the sort of performance we have come to expect from United over the years.
Fast flowing football, lightning counter attacks and intelligent passing, we took the game by the scruff of its neck. It’s worrying that it took three losses on the trot and a limp first 45 minutes to see the team playing like that but it is at least some comfort to know that we still have it in us.
Ahead of Chelsea next weekend, we had to turn our form around and we can at least go to Stamford Bridge with some confidence back.
Adnan Januzaj the architect. United might be dependent on Januzaj for inspiration right now but if he continues to put in performances like that, so be it.
How an 18-year-old can be so calm, influential and composed in such a pressured game is incredible. He was the architect of everything positive that United did tonight. From confident runs and defence splitting passes to precision crosses and almost perfect free-kicks, it was a faultless performance from the Belgian.
Nobody expected him to have this sort of impact he has had this season but with every game that goes by, he becomes more and more important to United. Certainly a star in the making.
Why did United look scared to lose? In the first half for 15 minutes, Swansea were under real pressure from us but as soon as they created an attack, United cowered and sat back. Instead of being positive like we were at the start, Swansea were allowed to control and dominate the game.
When have United ever done that, let alone at Old Trafford? There should always be one team who are scared to play at Old Trafford but it shouldn’t be us. We need to start believing in ourselves more as the mentality is all wrong.
In the second half, we showed that confidence and look what happened. We’re champions and need to start playing like it more often.
Some tactical flexibility at last. Despite the results in our last few games, David Moyes refused to shy away from a game that is heavily dependent on crosses into the box but against Swansea, we showed variety.
A lot of the time, Januzaj did release Evra down the left and there were a lot of crosses going in but we did have some inventiveness through the middle with Welbeck, Kagawa and Januzaj all playing their part.
That is the style of football that United need to play more often because when you’ve players like Januzaj and Kagawa on the pitch, it plays to their strengths.