Manchester United are the second team in this year’s competition to make it through to the Europa League’s semi-finals after their 1-0 extra-time goal from the penalty spot.
In light of tonight’s game, we have assessed three things we can take away from the Red’s performance:
Jadon Sancho should not be the priority this summer
Despite being one of, if not, the most exciting young prospect in world football, surely it is obvious that the acquiring of Sancho would be more of a luxury than a necessity.
United’s quarter-final 1-0 win may not quite do their performance justice as the Reds did manage a whopping 14 shots on target. The fact their only goal came from the spot was more a sign of it being ‘one of those nights’ rather than failure to create chances.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly which area of United’s squad needs bolstering the most, but it is most definitely not their front-line.
United would undoubtedly benefit immensely from an out-and-out defensive anchor man who could operate at the base of their midfield which would give Paul Pogba more license to roam.
Elsewhere, when Eric Bailly doesn’t feature, the Reds struggle for a centre-back who carries the ball out from the back which has slowly become a crucial aspect in the modern game.
With widespread reports suggesting that Sancho could cost United in excessive of £100m, it may be fair to assume that if they put all of their eggs into one Sancho shaped basket, the United faithful can expect to see no more than one arrival.
Bruno Fernandes’ immense footballing IQ
The 25-year-old Portuguese midfielder was on the score sheet again tonight, taking his United tally to 11 goals in all competitions since his arrival in January.
Fernandes was presented with an opportunity to give his side the lead deep into tonight’s extra-time period, witnessing his side struggle to breakdown the resolute Danish side, all the pressure was on the attacker to break the deadlock.
There probably wasn’t a fan in the world who didn’t expect Fernandes to execute his trademark ‘hop and skip’ penalty technique, however, Fernandes shocked onlookers and more importantly, his goalkeeping opponent by completely mixing his spot-kick style up.
Whether or not Fernandes’ decision to dramatically change his technique and opt to smash it home rather than place it when the keeper has already made the first move was premeditated or decided there and then, it worked like a treat.
Karl-Johan Johnsson, the FC Copenhagen keeper put in an absolutely superb display in-between the sticks and that is actually an understatement.
Despite the 30-year-old’s elite performance, once again, Fernandes proves he can outwit just about anyone he faces.
No longer favourites to lift the trophy
After going toe-to-toe with Denmark’s second best team for over 120 minutes and only managing to break the game’s deadlock from the penalty spot, United will struggle to convince fans that they’re still the favourites to lift the same trophy they did three years ago.
Elsewhere, Romelu Lukaku’s Inter Milan rose to see off Kai Havertz’s Bayer Leverkusen in tonight’s other quarter-final as Shakhtar Donetsk prepare to face FC Basel and Wolves gear up to take-on the in-form Sevilla tomorrow evening.
With United awaiting to learn who they will face out of Wolves or Sevilla in the semi-final on Aug 17 surely Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan are firm favourites to become finalists as their potential opponents remain slightly more in the balance.