Ander Herrera once again took control of midfield proceedings in emphatic fashion during Manchester United’s second leg 1-0 win over FC Rostov in the Europa League last 16.
The Spaniard, deployed alongside Paul Pogba in a slightly more defensively oriented role, provided an constant supply of verve and energy against the Russian side all evening.
A look at his stats from the game sheds light on what was another browbeating performance at the base of midfield.
Herrera's by numbers vs. Rostov:
60% tackles won
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 16, 2017
Herrera’s relentless work rate has been an indispensable feature of United’s approach this season. It is no surprise that, following a strong start, Mourinho’s men lost a sense of midfield sharpness once the Spaniard was sent off against Chelsea. The game plan largely remained, but nobody was there to drive it forward.
Indeed, the ignominy and injustice of Stamford Bridge informed how Herrera went about his business against Rostov: Mourinho had clearly told the Spaniard, already one yellow card away from a suspension in Europe, to approach this contest with a greater sense of control, and the midfielder duly reciprocated.
All the regular markings of a Herrera midfield display were present, of course, but every tackle, interception and run was mediated with more composure, and supporters will hope to see him take such a mindset into the closing stages of the season.