To be honest, this was a very decent performance by Manchester United. Despite going a goal down in the first half and missing a penalty they played with enough purpose and resolve to score five good goals.

To add to the reasons for slight celebration, two of the goals were scored by Marcus Rashford, making his debut after Anthony Martial had decided that David De Gea shouldn’t have the monopoly on pulling up with an injury just before kick-off. What further added to the feel-good factor was the fact that Memphis Depay was the man-of-the-match.

To continue with the honesty, though, this was always a game that a Manchester United team should expect to win. They are in the Europa League playing teams who weren’t good enough for the Champion’s League. The fact that they have now fallen into this category is their own fault, but they should still be good enough to win it, even though they probably won’t.

Staying with “honesty is the best policy”, the young lads who won the game tonight were not playing because van Gaal gives young lads a chance, no, they were playing because injuries give young lads a chance.

Had Will Keane not been injured against Shrewsbury then it would have been he who came in to replace Martial. Had Rooney not been injured, then Keane may not have made the bench either.

All of this stems from van Gaal’s failure to purchase a proven striker in any of the transfer windows.

The draw tomorrow throws up the prospect of Manchester United playing Valencia, where they can renew acquaintance with Gary Neville. What fun that would be!

If nothing else though, the last two results, even though they were against vastly inferior opposition, should have increased confidence. The eight goals scored should also make the youngsters feel more at ease and, given that this was a very makeshift defence tonight, again stemming from van Gaal’s failure to buy in the transfer windows, the fact that only one goal was conceded was also a bonus.

Seeing Carrick and Blind as central defenders was not a particularly welcome site but, against this team, they coped quite well. Whether they can do the same against Arsenal remains to be seen. The wing backs, Varela and Riley, both had good games but, again, against better teams they are both relatively inexperienced, although Varela is starting to look the part.

When United were 3-1 up in the match, (4-3 on aggregate), van Gaal brought Rojo on for Joe Riley in an attempt to add experience to the defence so that the Danes wouldn’t knick it with another away goal. It was a good move and Rojo played solidly for the remainder of the game.

So a good night was had by all at Old Trafford. United are now through to the next round in the two competitions in which they are competing. Now all they have to do to prove that Danish and English minnows are not all that they can eat for breakfast is to beat Arsenal on Sunday.

Then we will start to believe a little more.


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