Home » Fred, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tyrell Malacia silence critics and vindicate Erik ten Hag stance

Fred, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tyrell Malacia silence critics and vindicate Erik ten Hag stance

by Ayantan Chowdhury

Manchester United displayed their famous never-say-die attitude as they came from behind to stage a famous 2-1 win against Manchester City in the Manchester derby on Saturday.

Erik ten Hag‘s game-plan of keeping things compact in the middle of the park paid dividends in the first-half as City looked uncharacteristically flat and flustered.

But Pep Guardiola’s team ended up taking the lead in the second-half from substitute Jack Grealish and at that point, it seemed United had no answer to City’s probing and passing.

Manchester derby heroics

However, as has been the case on numerous occasions this season, the Red Devils came back and how! Bruno Fernandes got the equaliser under controversial circumstances before red-hot Marcus Rashford scored the winner.

And while it is natural for the Mancunian to take all the plaudits, it is worth noting the performance of three players who have had to be content with a place on the bench for a large portion of the season.

Sir Alex Ferguson had a few trusted lieutenants, who did not play as much but came alive during the big occasions.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka was practically close to leaving the club in January but he has proved his worth since the World Cup and against City, he shone in an attacking capacity as well.

His defensive contributions have never been in doubt but it was great to see him egging the team on just when City seemed to be running away with the contest. He has always played well against big teams and he showed that again on Saturday.

Not the most attractive player to watch, Wan-Bissaka did quite a job down the right flank and he definitely deserves a longer stay based on this performance.

A lot has been spoken about Fred and his wayward passing and how his combination with Scott McTominay has been one of the worst midfield pairings the club has seen.

But when given the licence to roam and do his job, there is no one better than the Brazilian. Against teams who like to keep hold of the ball, Fred’s relentless pressing and energy is a must-have.

Trio prove their worth

It is no wonder that Ten Hag has played the Brazil international in big games against Chelsea, Tottenham and now City. His performance was reminiscent of the job Ander Herrera had done against Eden Hazard of Chelsea.

Tyrell Malacia had lost his place after the first Manchester derby, but with Luke Shaw excelling as the left centre-back, the Dutch defender has proved his worth.

His no-nonsense defensing style and tenacity meant City hardly got any joy down the left flank and he deserves to play more based on this evidence.

Ten Hag is turning Old Trafford into a fortress and this new-look Manchester United is finally echoing the spirit of the old United.


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