Jesse Lingard rightly took the praise for his winning goal against West Ham. As did David de Gea for his last gasp penalty save.

Lost amid their heroic contributions was Nemanja Matic’s defence splitting pass to find Lingard in space inside the penalty area.

Matic had only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes.

The Serbian had come on to replace Fred, who worked hard but faded as the game went on.

The pass made by Matic was the type of incisive forward pass Fred would not have made, not at that stage of the game, with West Ham sitting back and challenging United to play through them.

BSC Young Boys v Manchester United - Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Will Matic get more chances?

Solskjaer reverted to his favoured combination of Scott McTominay and Fred for this game after the midweek loss.

Of the two players, it was Fred who was the weak link. Tenacious without the ball, the Brazilian just does not have the quality or composure on it.

Too often United’s moves broke down when Fred gave the ball away. He has an unfortunate knack of turning attack into defence.

United’s dilemma is that Matic at 33 does not have the boundless energy Fred does. If there was a way to fuse the two and take the good parts, we would be onto something.


Matic probably will get the start in midfield in midweek alongside Donny van de Beek.

Then Solskjaer will face bigger decisions, whether to start Matic against Aston Villa on Saturday, and then Villarreal the following week.

At his age he won’t start all three of the next matches, but it might be a sensible call to start Matic in at least one of the Villa and Villarreal games.

What Matic lacks in energy he makes up in composure, and his passing ability is something which has really been quite useful for United at times.

Matic has a crispness and a directness to his play when he wants to look upfield.

Against West Ham he showed he has the ability to pick out a pass, sliding the ball into Lingard’s feet inside the penalty area, taking out three West Ham opponents in the process.


Here is a look at what United fans have been saying about Matic’s pass for Lingard’s goal…

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