Andreas Pereira scored on his competitive debut as Manchester United saw off the challenge of Ipswich Town with a 3-0 win at Old Trafford in the Capital One cup.
Man United made a solid start to the match and Pereira hit the post early on, although the assistant raised his flag for offside. Ipswich were then lucky not to concede a penalty after the ball appeared to strike Giles Coke’s hand in the box. The visitors settled down after that but they were powerless to resist United opening the scoring when Wayne Rooney took Daley Blind’s long ball down brilliantly before slotting home.
Ander Herrera and Juan Mata then came close as United looked to establish control of the game before half-time. However, Ipswich came out rejuvenated after the break and David McGoldrick’s dangerous ball across the box should have had someone on the end of it. It was a ropey period for United but they got through it and Pereira doubled their lead with a brilliant free-kick after an hour played.
Ipswich looked deflated and only a fingertip save from Bartosz Bialkowski denied Mata before substitute Anthony Martial wrapped up the win with a third late on.
After impressing on the pre-season tour of the United States, Pereira was finally handed his first competitive start for United by Louis van Gaal.
It was clear the Brazilian wanted to make an impression and he almost made an instant impact with a few efforts early on. Pereira was the bright spark for United in the first half as his dribbling and mazy runs caused problems for the Ipswich defence. His performance was soon capped with a superb free-kick in the second period which gave United breathing space as Ipswich started to threaten. It really couldn’t have gone any better for the Brazilian on the night.
Supporters have high hopes for the youngster and his performance went a long way to justifying the hype surrounding him. However, opportunities in the Premier League may still be hard to come by and Pereira will be hoping United go far in the Capital One cup.
The United captain has been criticised at points this term for a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal but his opening strike was never in doubt.
Plucking Blind’s long ball out of the air, Rooney took a couple of touches before firing into the net for his first goal in the Capital One cup since the 2010 final against Aston Villa. It was the Rooney that supporters are used to and not the one that has so often been tepid this season. Of course, Ipswich did not offer the sternest of challenges but for Rooney, it is a start. Van Gaal, who brought Rooney off after 80 minutes, will be hoping his captain can now push on in the Premier League.
Van Gaal has learned his lesson after suffering a humiliating 4-0 defeat against MK Dons which knocked United out of this competition last season and he named a very strong line-up against Ipswich.
United, by and large, were in control of the game from the first whistle but there was a sense that they were not as dominating as they should have been considering the personnel. One particularly sketchy period at the start of the second half saw Ipswich come close to equalising on a few occasions. Nevertheless, they got the job done against Ipswich and you cannot ask much more than that from the experienced Dutchman.
There were some murmurs that Mata could have lost his place in the starting XI following the acquisitions of Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial over the summer but the Spaniard has responded with some impressive performances as of late. His display against Ipswich was no different.
Mata was always involved in United’s build up play and he wasn’t afraid to try a shot on goal. Van Gaal would have been delighted with his contribution as he brought him off early for some well earned rest. Mata’s goals and assists were invaluable last term but he now seems to be improving his all-round game as well.
Will this kid ever stop scoring? Martial once again got on the scoresheet for United in another promising display. The Frenchman really is making a mockery of those who said he would be a waste of money following his £36m move to Old Trafford on deadline day. Long may it continue.