Ander Herrera produced another commanding performance at the base of midfield during Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Southampton in the League Cup final.
The Spaniard, with Michael Carrick starting on the bench, battled valiantly against a strong Southampton midfield for the first 45 minutes, essentially acting as Man United’s only source of midfield cover.
He was then moved further forward following Carrick’s introduction at half-time and supplied an inch-perfect assist for Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s 87th minute winner.
A glance at the Spaniard’s numbers from the game shed light on what was, once again, a truly emphatic performance.
Herrera's game by numbers vs. Southampton:
4 aerial duels won
7/10 tackles won
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 26, 2017
It goes without saying that the only United player adorning tomorrow’s front pages will be Ibrahimovic, the 35-year-old who – not for the first time – dragged his side out of the mire and guided them to glory.
But at the other end – the other side of the beautiful game, a place characterised by sweat, blood and endless professional fouls – there was Herrera, exhausting every last sinew in the heat of battle, unrelenting in his energy. Indeed, this is the side of Herrera that United fans have fallen in love with this season: that tenacious, indefatigable warrior in the middle, clearly mindful of what this badge represents.
That match-winning ball to Ibrahimovic, however, was a reminder of the other side to Herrera’s game: such craft and composure, even amid the frenzy of one of the best cup finals in recent times.