Casemiro’s outstanding performance in Manchester United’s 4-1 Premier League thrashing of Chelsea earned him the praise of Stamford Bridge legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils secured a top-four spot.
Alexa, define ‘Jogo Bonito’.
How many other defensive midfielders would score a bicycle kick winner one day, and then execute a frankly obscene no-look pass later in the week.
Manchester United may have signed Casemiro for his defensive acumen first-and-foremost. But, in successive wins over Bournemouth and Chelsea which finally sealed Champions League qualification, the Brazilian battle-axe furthered his claim to be considered the most ‘complete’ central midfield player to wear the famous red kit since, perhaps, Roy Keane.
Casemiro shines as Manchester United hammer Chelsea
“I think coming from Real Madrid, coming here, how he gets into the dressing room with everybody looking at him… He’s won so much. He’s a big man, and he plays like a big man,” Chelsea legend Hasselbaink told Sky Sports after Casemiro took his tally to a joint-personal best seven with a fine header before setting up Anthony Martial’s tap-in with an assist which would not have looked out of place in a Ronaldinho YouTube comp.
“He leads, scores goals, tackles. He’s had a few red cards but he’s a proper leader on the pitch,” Hasselbaink adds. “I can only imagine how he gets in the dressing room, and what kind of lift he gives to the other players
“Big, big, big player.”
Casemiro now has seven goals and seven assists since joining Man United last summer. Not bad for a so-called ‘defensive’ midfielder.
United fans, meanwhile, can now rest a little easier ahead of next weekend’s FA Cup final clash with Manchester City. Not that Ten Hag is putting his feet up just yet; third place up for grabs following Newcastle’s recent dip in form.
“They have a way of playing, you can see the patterns,” Hasselbaink explains. “People would not have believed that it would have been that big of a change in (Ten Hag’s) first year.
“He has been absolutely magnificent. What they now need to improve is winning away from home.”
Win at home to Fulham on Sunday and Manchester United – unbeaten at home since September’s loss to Real Sociedad – will equal a club-record of 27 Old Trafford victories in a single season.