United’s win over Partizan Belgrade was a tough watch. This time, at least we can celebrate three points.
Despite the lack of creativity and lack of shots on target from open play, let’s make a concerted effort to be positive and look at five pluses from United’s victory in Serbia…
Unwanted record snapped
United had gone 11 away matches without a win prior to this game. You had to go back as far as Paris for our last one.
This victory was far less dramatic, but it could turn out to be important in it’s own way.
United have three away matches upcoming, with Norwich up next in the Premier League.
A run of wins can save United’s season. We need to start climbing up the Premier League table.
If it was a mental block, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side may have overcome it. We’ll see, but its a start and a much needed step in the right direction.
Brandon Williams won United the game with a driving run into the box to earn the match winning penalty.
The teenager was singled out for praise by Solskjaer after the game.
He told the club’s official website: “I didn’t think he put a foot wrong. He’s been fantastic in the games he’s played and the boy has no fear.
“He’s as brave as lion and he got us the win. We’ve found a left-back there. The boy’s going to be a top player.”
There is a really strong case now for United to hand him a first Premier League start at the weekend.
Step forward for Garner
It was crucial that United finally handed James Garner a start after his terrific performances for the under-23s.
He did not let his manager or team down. While there were not any attacking contributions for Garner to really make the most of, he impressed defensively.
Garner made three interceptions and six ball recoveries and might end up being the Ander Herrera replacement United need.
It’s early days, but this was an encouraging performance in a difficult environment.
Martial confidence boost
If you asked us what we wanted before the game from Anthony Martial, it would have been this: An hour played and a goal.
Martial delivered, scoring a penalty before being substituted off.
It was important that United did not push him too hard, as he recovers from a lengthy lay-off.
The problem was that his performance wasn’t great, he doesn’t quite look fully fit yet. The goal will help.
That’s number 51 for him for United, and his third of the season.
United were really tested by Partizan as they pushed for an equaliser. We stood firm.
Now after three matches, United are yet to concede a Europa League goal.
It’s a tremendous record, coupled with a strong defensive showing in the Premier League, and provides the platform for sustained success.
This was without Axel Tuanzebe and Victor Lindelöf, while Sergio Romero looked good in goal standing in for David de Gea.
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