Manchester United had to battle and ride the luck at times to beat FC Copenhagen in the Europa League quarter-final.

While we struck the woodwork twice and had two goals ruled out in 90 minutes, the Danes were a well-coached and accomplished side who posed their own threats going forward too.

In extra-time United were dominant, and only an outstanding performance from goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson stopped us winning by a bigger margin.

Bruno Fernandes scored the game changing goal from the penalty spot, but he was not among our best players on the night.

Here is a look at three players who were United’s best performers on a tough night in Cologne…

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

Anthony Martial

There was no goal for Anthony Martial but this was another outstanding performance from the Frenchman.

In the first half he was not especially effective, but as the game went on he became increasingly influential and FC Copenhagen struggled to contain his movement and quality.

The decisive moment in the game summed up Martial’s new attitude. Having had a chance saved by the goalkeeper, he quickly got up, made it back onside, received a pass and won a penalty.

The Martial of a couple of seasons ago would still have been feeling sorry for himself on the ground after his missed chance.

The Frenchman has a good habit of making things happen, and he grew in confidence after the goal, going on a couple of jinking runs through the Danes’ defence.

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

Eric Bailly

Eric Bailly was unlucky to be taken off after 70 minutes. He was harshly and wrongly booked minutes before, and with Harry Maguire also on a yellow, Solskjaer looked to make a change.

 

The Ivorian had defended well, with his usual 100 per cent committed style.

Even after his booking he went sliding in for a 50-50, which perhaps led to Solskjaer deciding not to risk him further.

Even though he was taken off after 70 minutes, Bailly made more clearances than any other defender (4) and matched Maguire for interceptions (2).

It is not often he is selected ahead of Victor Lindelof, and he should be pleased with his display.

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

Juan Mata

Substitute Juan Mata was the player FC Copenhagen did not account for and did not know how to stop.

The Spaniard came on for extra-time and made an instant impact, pushing United forward from deep, and he was heavily involved in the penalty Anthony Martial won.

He created two chances during his 30 minutes on the pitch and made the vital difference.

The veteran has shown during the past two games that he has plenty left to offer, and United need to find ways to utilise him more. Class is permanent.

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