Manchester United are now up and running in the Europa League as well after bouncing back from their opening day defeat with a win over Moldovan side FC Sheriff.
Erik ten Hag named a full-strength team to face Sheriff as the Dutchman took no risks. In the other group game, Real Sociedad made it two wins from as many games as they survived a late scare against Cypriot side Omonia.
A full-strength side for Ten Hag means that Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez guard the defence and the pair were at their brilliant best again. United have won all five of the games in which they have started together.
The latter has quickly become a fan-favourite at Old Trafford and he has now praised Jadon Sancho for his ‘fantastic’ goal against Sheriff.
“Tonight we had to win as we needed the three points. It was very important to us,” Martinez is quoted as saying by the official Manchester United website.
“We work very hard everyday in training and today [Jadon] Sancho scored a fantastic goal. But also how we played was fantastic, as I think everyone touched the ball and then Sancho finished it. It was a fantastic finish and everyone celebrated it.”
Martinez has already experienced the wrath of the English press since joining the club this summer and Sancho is not a stranger either. The winger already had a point to prove after being left out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad hours before the game.
Ten Hag is slowly but surely building a very likeable United side and the two players in question here are at the heart of it. Martinez has already endeared himself to supporters and Sancho is growing into the player they signed just over a year ago.
Make no mistake about it – Sancho’s goal on Thursday evening was the perfect showing of finesse and composure. That’s his third of the season and if he keeps this up, it will be impossible for Southgate to ignore him.