Manchester United got their season on track with an excellent 2-1 win over rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford tonight.
Erik ten Hag got a reaction from his players after two defeats against Brighton & Hove Albion and Brenford.
United far a lot more aggressive than Liverpool on the night and won every 50/50 ball. It was the sort of performance us fans have demanded in a big game for some time.
Here are my three observations from Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool:
I said before the match that I was sick and tired of asking this group of players to respond. Throughout all last season until now – after losing our first two games of the season – we had seen nothing close to tonight’s performance. We played on the front foot and beat Liverpool in every battle. You could see the confidence growing in several players, but that needs to continue into the weekend and beyond the international break.
Raphael Varane orchestrated from the back
The Frenchman’s presence was felt at the back. You could see him communicating with the other defenders throughout the match – urging them all to stay alert to prevent lapses of concentration. Varane’s assurance at the back brought a big improvement to the side defensively and a huge upgrade on Harry Maguire.
Lisandro Martinez deserves a special mention for his aggressive display at the back. The Argentine won everything on the ground.
No Ronaldo, no problem
There’s always going to be headlines when a manager drops Cristiano Ronaldo as we seen under Ralf Rangnick last season. It was interesting to see Ten Hag overlook Ronaldo again at half-time when Anthony Martial replaced Anthony Elanga, but the Frenchman connected superbly when Sanacho and Rashford when he came on. I thought we looked like more of a team without Ronaldo. That may come as a controversial opinion to some.