Manchester United 2-1 Sampdoria: Player ratings

by Leo Nieboer

David de Gea 6 – Had little to do aside from a few routine stops. Caught flat-footed for what was an exquisite finish from Dennis Praet.

Antonio Valencia 7 – An unyielding threat on the right hand side, tearing past Sampdoria at will in the first half. Provided some inviting crosses but found himself caught out positionally for the Italian side’s equaliser.

Victor Lindelof 6 – Demonstrated greater verve on the ball than seen in recent weeks but continued to struggle to find the right position and, in turn, made too many clumsy challenges. Supporters will need to give him some time.

Chris Smalling 6.5 – Clearly enjoys playing at the base of a back three over an orthodox defensive two but will be disappointed with his scuffed clearance that led to Sampdoria’s goal.

Daley Blind 7 – Looked far more comfortable on the ball when placed on the left hand side of a back three, aside from one questionable back pass to De Gea.

Matteo Darmian 7 – Displayed plenty of attacking impetus in the first half, providing a pin-point assist for Mkhitaryan, and didn’t let much get past him at the other end.

Nemanja Matic 7.5 – The Serbian may have only become a Manchester United player two days ago, but at the base of midfield he looked right at home from the start: physically imposing, controlled on the ball, always in space and oozing confidence. He won’t, on tonight’s evidence, need much time to settle at Old Trafford.

Paul Pogba 7 – Another elegantly masterful performance from the Frenchman. Handled the ball wonderfully and, with Matic sweeping up behind him, linked up with both wing-backs and Mkhitaryan at No.10. Showed promise with a few balls over the top to Lukaku – something that could prove very effective next season.

Andreas Pereira 6 – Displayed excellent energy moving forward and an astute positional sense, usually supporting Valencia’s runs forward, but lacked the execution Jose Mourinho would have wanted to see.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan 7 – Wonderfully nimble and untraceable from minute one. Nobody looks more confident in tight spaces than the Armenian. Started and finished a sumptuous counter-attack after ten minutes.

Romelu Lukaku 7 – A powerful influence at the masthead of attack. Could have been sharper when engineering space in front of goal but held the ball well and bullied the back four.

Substitutes

Ander Herrera 6.5 – Came on at half time and exerted good pressure in the centre. Could have been more positive on the ball.

Marouane Fellaini 6.5 – Another tidy performance on the ball. Clearly the dominant midfield force in terms of sheer muscle but occasionally lacked discipline with his challenges.

Juan Mata 6.5 – Floated across the pitch nicely at No.10, comfortably flicking the ball to teammates, but struggled to match the direct intensity of Mkhitaryan in the first half. Did brilliantly to arrive late and sweep home with ten minutes left – a quintessential Mata goal.

Michael Carrick 6 – Could have moved the ball quicker at times but produced a typically composed display at the base of midfield.

Anthony Martial 7 – Came on and, with rumours of a move away lingering over his head, impressively went for Sampdoria’s jugular and got his reward with an assist for Mata.

Marcus Rashford 7 – Offered an importantly different dynamic to Lukaku. Often started from deep and terrorised Samdoria’s back four with a number of piercing runs through the middle.

Phil Jones N/A

Eric Bailly N/A

Axel Tuanzebe N/A

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