Morgan Schneiderlin gave an indomitable performance during Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Feyenoord in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The Frenchman, making his first start of the season, was a steely, energetic presence at the base of Man United’s midfield, thwarting any fibre of momentum generated by the home side.
A glance at Schneiderlin’s first-half numbers tells a story of sheer dominance: 100% pass accuracy, 100% aerial duels, 3 interceptions, 2 tackles.
Amid the rubble of another gloomy – and this time unjust – defeat, United fans can delight in the instant impact delivered by Schneiderlin, who served as the perfect antidote to what was an insecure, confused midfield performance against Manchester City last weekend.
The 26-year-old brought insurance and control to United’s display against the Dutch side. A separate issue exists when it comes to an evident dearth in attacking potency, but this isn’t an issue that concerns Schneiderlin. His job is to simply take care of the game’s ugly side: making interceptions, recycling the ball, tactical fouls and, more generally, providing muscle.
Other fringe players – Memphis Depay, Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian spring to mind – struggled to take their opportunity in Rotterdam, but Schneiderlin, bold as ever, has staked a real claim for a regular starting spot under Jose Mourinho.