Manchester United entered the quarterfinals of the Europa League with a 1-0 win on the night and 5-1 victory on aggregate over La Liga high-flyers Real Betis.
The Spanish side, buoyed by a passionate crowd, gave it a real good go in the first-half with goalkeeper David de Gea making a few crucial saves to keep the score-line intact.
The helter-skelter style of end-to-end action seems to suit But Erik ten Hag’s United and there was always a feeling that the Red Devils could score when needed.
ETH ensures United take every game seriously
But either the final pass was lacking or they tried to be too clever as the hosts managed to recover. But it was nice to watch how the team were not just sitting back but looking to win the tie on the night as well.
That is something Ten Hag has always made it a point to mention before every game in every competition, no matter the previous records or advantageous score-lines.
Before the game, he said he wanted to win every game and his team certainly showed that post the break. Ten Hag’s half-time talks have often seemed to reinvigorate the team and Thursday was yet another example of this feature.
The Reds turned on the style after the break. Some fine interplay and counter-attacking saw Marcus Rashford, who scooped yet another personal accolade before the game, getting a couple of chances to put the tie to bed. But he failed to make them count.
But the kind of form the England international is in, it was inevitable that he would make the difference in the tie. And just a few minutes later, he did just that.
Perfect night in terms of substitutions
Picking up the ball in the half-space, not too much was on in terms of a shot but the Mancunian thought otherwise. His long range pile-driver had a wicked swerve that beat the Betis custodian.
Ten Hag made a few substitutions following that striker, in what a clear nod to the upcoming FA Cup quarterfinal at the weekend against Fulham.
Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Lisandro Martinez were all given a break while Raphael Varane was given just a watching brief.
Minutes were shared between Fred and Marcel Sabitzer, which might indicate they will be getting the nod on Sunday. Facundo Pellistri also showed he has the credentials to push Antony all the way this season. All in all, a good night for the Reds.
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