Five things we learned as Manchester United beat LASK 2-1

Manchester United made hard work of a second leg tie against LASK, winning 2-1 through goals from Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial.

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

A reminder of life before Fernandes

United were very uninspired and struggled to break LASK down. This was a reminder of what life was like before Bruno Fernandes signed for the club in January.

There was no urgency or incision. It said everything that in the first half, United’s only two shots came from centre-back Harry Maguire.

We did not need Bruno Fernandes in this game, but on the evidence of the 90 minutes, we are likely to require him to get past FC Copenhagen in the quarter-final on Monday.


This match just further highlighted the need to sign a quality alternative this summer, so that we are not left with a choice between running Fernandes into the ground, or selecting notably more ineffective players.

Too many players did not perform well, with Dan James among those who disappointed.

It took Anthony Martial to score a late goal to win it, minutes after coming on. The difference between stand-ins and first choice stars is so noticeable.

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Mata and Lingard switch worked

The first 45 minutes was poor as Juan Mata toiled out on the right wing and Jesse Lingard struggled to have an impact.

Solskjaer switched this at half-time and moved Mata centrally, and Lingard out wide to the left, with Dan James moving to the right.

This worked, with Mata setting Lingard free on a counter attack to score an equaliser after LASK had taken the lead.

Lingard will take some confidence from this. He now has two goals in two consecutive games.

This was a feather in Solskjaer’s cap, showing that he can make changes mid-game which have an effect.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Pogba difference notable

It was pretty surprising to see Paul Pogba comes off the bench after 62 minutes, just as United were beginning to show signs of life.

The substitution underlined Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s desire to pick up some momentum with a win, and the difference was immediately notable.

Pogba provided so much more presence and influence than Fred did, who struggled to make an impact on the game.

United got hold of the game more, scored the winner, and were the better team after Pogba came on, which we could not necessarily say beforehand.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Chong fills in at left-back

Earlier in July we asked, ‘could Tahith Chong fill in at left-back?’, after injuries to both Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams.

Less than a month on, this was the position Chong’s next appearance came in, as he came off the bench against LASK for the final 19 minutes.

He got a chance to go forward and looked confident doing so. Playing on the overlap seemed to come naturally for him as he had less time to stop and think about his next move, with hesitancy letting him down earlier in the season.

Although we are no clearer whether this will be long-term position for him. Chong is so desperate for game time he will take anything right now, but this was interesting to see.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Mengi made it

It was disappointing not to see Teden Mengi start, but we held out hope he would come off the bench, and so he did.

The 18-year-old centre-back came on for the final six minutes, and this was what we wanted to see.

This was just the first of many appearances Mengi will go on to play for United, and this will be just about the only memorable aspect of this fixture when we look back on it.

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