Perhaps an international break was the best thing for Manchester Unoted’s players after the 6-1 thumping at the hands of Tottenham.
A change of scene and getting out of the spotlight may not have been a bad thing.
It has given the fans a bit too much time to stew on the result, however, with United’s stuttering start to the season a cause of frustration.
Despite that, there have been some impressive performers and we’ve shone a light on the best three at a time where there’s a lot of doom and gloom around the club.
Mata has started both the 3-0 EFL Cup away wins, but is yet to play a minute in the league.
In the wins over Luton and Brighton, he has been the best player on the pitch; his technical ability and sharpness shining through.
With Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani ruled out against Newcastle on Sunday, Mason Greenwood may well be moved up front.
That would open up a spot on the right of midfield, and Mata’s cup performances mean he deserves a chance to fill it.
He linked up well with Bruno Fernandes in cup matches last season, and the pair appear to be on the same wavelength.
He was deservedly named United’s player of the month for September; the brightest ray of light in a dark month.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might consider a shake-up after that Spurs shambles and Mata deserves to be right at the top of the list of reserves in line to come in.
Like Mata, Henderson has only had opportunities to show what he can do in the EFL Cup – but he hasn’t put a foot wrong.
Questions have been asked of his ability to adjust to the demands of being a Manchester United goalkeeper.
At Sheffield United, he was busier, but this season might be a case of keeping focus for the majority of a game before making one big save.
That’s exactly what he’s done against Luton and Brighton, preserving 1-0 leads and allowing his team-mates to go on and close the game out.
Starting him against Newcastle would be a bold call, but his confident, vocal presence could inspire improvement from a defence which has been out of sorts in the league this season.
No, Fernandes hasn’t been at the same level as he was last season. Yes, he still looks a bit tired.
But he maintained his high standards on the opening weekend of the season against Crystal Palace, as others faltered.
He got a goal and an assist against Brighton, recovering well from giving away a penalty in the first half.
Even with games not going United’s way, he’s the one who sets the highest of standards; he leads the press, he always tries to make something happen.
Solskjaer will hope Fernandes can get back where he was earlier in 2020, but he has still outshone most of his team-mates without being at his peak so far.
Manchester United fixtures after the international break
- Newcastle United (A)
October 17 – 3pm
- PSG (A)
October 20 – 8pm
- Chelsea (H)
October 24 – 5.30pm
- RB Leipzig (H)
October 28 – 8pm
- Arsenal (H)
November 1 – 6.30pm
- Istanbul Basaksehir (A)
November 4- 5.55pm
- Everton (A)
November 7 – 3pm
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