Manchester United are into the Europa League semi-finals. It was not easy, with extra-time required to beat FC Copenhagen.

Here is a look at five things we learned from the game…

A better team would have made us pay early

United did not begin the game well at all. It was a sloppy start on a hot and humid evening in Cologne.

Eric Bailly almost gave away a penalty in the first half and bailed Harry Maguire out on another occasion, while Paul Pogba was required to sort out another defensive mix-up. Even Aaron Wan-Bissaka was beaten an left on the turf at one stage.

Some of the players looked like they had not played for a fortnight, and this poor start set the wrong tempo for the game and gave FC Copenhagen confidence.

A better team would have made United pay early, and the team need to shape up in the next round. Copenhagen were a good team to their credit, just lacking a cutting edge.

Manchester United v FC Kobenhavn - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final
(Photo by Wolfgang Rattay/Pool via Getty Images)

Break did not particularly help Fernandes or Rashford

Both Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes looked tired at the end of the season. They helped United do enough, but we know they are capable of much more.

A two week break was seemingly not enough for either of them to recapture the magic.

This was another game in which they struggled to click, with one another and with their individual performances.

Fernandes grew into the game as it went on and began to exert more influence on the match, hitting the post just after an hour, but it took him a while to get involved and needed the game to open up.

Inevitably, Fernandes would go onto score a crucial penalty, but this was not a vintage performance.

Manchester United vs FC Copenhagen - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final
(Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)

Greenwood unlucky

Whenever Mason Greenwood gets the ball in the penalty box, there is immediate danger for the opposition. United need to find ways to utilise him more.

His one chance in the first half saw him score ruthlessly from a tight angle. Sadly he was a yard offside and it was ruled out.

 

In the second half he struck the post from a tricky position, before Marcus Rashford tapped home an offside rebound.

Sadly it wasn’t his night. He was taken off after 90 minutes for extra-time, but he will get plenty more chances to add to his tally for the club.

FBL-EUR-C3-MAN UNITED-COPENHAGEN
(Photo by SASCHA STEINBACH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Matic for Fred change felt inevitable

Just before he was taken off, Fred made a big interception to set United away on a counter attack. United wasted it.

That was the tenacious Fred we came to enjoy watching between October and March. He has not shown enough of it lately.

It wasn’t evident for much of this match either. His partnership with Paul Pogba is largely untested and they did not look particularly co-ordinated in the first half.

It felt inevitable Matic would come on, and even though Fred showed signs of growing into the game, we were left with a sense that he did not really do enough to grab his opportunity, again.

Manchester United v FC Kobenhavn - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final
(Photo by Alex Grimm – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Fresh Mata makes the difference

Minutes after coming on in extra time, Juan Mata played a key role in Manchester United taking the lead.

He started the attack with a driving run and pass through to Anthony Martial. The Frenchman missed his shot, but won a penalty quickly after, which Fernandes scored.

Martial and Fernandes then played their part, but Mata’s role should not go unrecognised.

Mata was underutilised in the Premier League late in the season, and added two assists against LASK in the last match.

Back on the bench for this game, Mata made an impact almost immediately after coming on.

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