Reaction to draw against Benfica

1. After seeing the starting line-up, I honestly thought we were in for an exciting performance with a comeback appearance from Ashley Young and others that featured from the bench. Those thoughts quickly vanished after conceding just after four minutes due to a Phil Jones own goal. It took us around 35 minutes to wake up properly and show the slightest bit of urgency, and that continued for 15 minutes after the interval when Flecther’s goal was equalised thanks to Benfica’s Aimar. The remainder of the match was pretty dull but United had more than enough chances to grab a winner. This draw means we need a point from our last game against Basel in order to qualify, whereas Benfica look almost certain to top Group C facing a poor Otelul Galati side.

2. Patrice Evra was caught napping for the first goal, therefore, Phil Jones wasn’t to blame despite knocking it in his own net. This has occurred a number times throughout the last two years with the French left back, so one has to wonder what’s his problem. I’ve questioned his sleep pattern with a hint of sarcasm on here before but some of you took it seriously, so I won’t go down that route again. However, in the second half he looked a different player and set up Fletcher’s goal with a magnificent cross. Ferguson probably pulled out the hairdryer!

3. Ashley Young started the game in behind Dimitar Berbatov, who we haven’t seen enough of this season. It was an unfamiliar role for the 26-year-old but in all fairness, he didn’t do too bad. There were times when he poorly mistimed passes but his link up play with Berbatov was excellent. Although, I much prefer seeing Young played on the wing. The main reason for that is whenever Antonio Valencia starts on the right, Nani is almost forced into playing on the left where he isn’t half effective. We’re a more threatening side when Ashley plays on the left.

4. The midfield has been a topic of discussion after almost every game this season. And to be fair, tonight’s display wasn’t the worst we’ve seen. Darren Fletcher’s overall contribution was below average despite scoring the second goal, while Michael Carrick put in another good performance. However being the scapegoat that Carrick is, a certain section of supporters won’t acknowledge how well he played. It’s just a pity we don’t have enough players calling for the ball when the midfielders are stuck for space, and that gives the opposition a greater chance to intercept passes etc.

5. This whole reaction to the game may appear to be a rant of some sort. Ferguson, surprisingly, was notably upbeat about our performance. In his post match interview, he said ‘I thought we were a but unlucky tonight.’ This quote made me think a little because the reaction from the majority of fans made it sound like we actually lost the game. Completed a total of 517 passes compared to Benfica’s 250, while keeping 64% of possession. Those stats show Ferguson wasn’t wrong with his comments. Maybe questionable but those stats do tell you something…

More Stories Ashley Young Benfica Champions League Darren Fletcher Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United Michael Carrick