Manchester United got their Europa League campaign back on track by beating Sheriff Tiraspol 2-0 in Moldova.
After losing our opening Europa League game against Real Sociedad last Thursday, Erik ten Hag’s bounced back thanks to first half goals from Jadon Sancho and a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty.
Here are five things we learned from the clash between Sheriff Tiraspol and Manchester United
Things we learned from Sheriff Tiraspol Manchester United
Jadon Sancho responds to Southgate snub
Despite making an impressive start to the new campaign, the former Borussia Dortmund man was overlooked by Gareth Southgate when naming his final England squad before the World Cup.
United’s number 25 produced the perfect response and clinically opened the scoring in Eastern Europe with a neat left-footed finish.
It was Sancho’s third goal of the season and if he continues his rich vein of form he’ll surely force his way back into the Three Lions fold ahead of this winter’s showpiece in Qatar.
Christian Eriksen importance continues to grow
The Danish playmaker has started every game this season for the Red Devils since signing for the twenty-time league champions on a free transfer.
Eriksen’s calmness in possession and forward-thinking nature has been a decisive factor in our ability to carry a threat and carve out chances.
It was our number 14’s pass into Sancho which allowed the winger to give us the lead.
With his wicked deliveries from set pieces, the 30-year-old has already established himself as a mainstay in Ten Hag’s seemingly first-choice XI.
Casemiro may have to remain patient
The former Real Madrid man was one of five players to be dropped to the bench from last week’s defeat to Sociedad.
Ten Hag decided to recall Scott McTominay and the Scot came back into the side alongside Eriksen before being replaced by the five-time Champions League winner at half-time.
With United’s next Premier League a testing trip to Manchester City after the international break, and with the 30-year-old yet to start his first game in the top-flight, the Dutchman could well retain McTominay and Eriksen as his midfield partnership with United’s number 18 having to settle for a place on the bench once again.
Tyrell Malacia shows versatility
With 20 minutes remaining, Ten Hag decided to bring off Diogo Dalot and brought on Luke Shaw to replace the former Porto man.
But it was Malacia not the England international who slotted in at right-back to fill the void left by United’s number 20.
The former Feyenoord man relished showing his qualities playing on the opposite of the pitch and galloped forward at every opportunity, taking up an inside position when we were in possession which has become a blueprint of our football under the Dutchman.
Cristiano Ronaldo off the mark
With Marcus Rashford joining Anthony Martial on the sidelines, United’s number seven started back-to-back games under Ten Hag for the first time.
The 37-year-old ensured he got off the mark prior the international break by slotting a penalty down the middle after Dalot had been fouled.
It was the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s 699th club goal and it was his first in the Europa League.
The Portuguese captain will no doubt be hoping to retain his place in the starting line-up when we travel to the Etihad Stadium on 2 October.