Football Features

“He’s not part of the system, he IS the system” – Player Ratings as Fernandes fires Man Utd to massive Europa League win

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 20:10, 18 February 2021

In a brilliant night of football, Manchester United devastated Real Sociedad on the break, winning 0-4.

The Red Devils made it three straight humiliations for La Liga sides in Europe by replicating what PSG and Borussia Dortmund did and attacking with pace. La Real could never live with the speed of Solskjaer’s side.

Here’s how the players rated at Juventus Stadium:

Manchester United

Dean Henderson – 8 – A couple of solid saves early on and a commanding performance throughout. Henderson was vocal in his commands to the defenders in front of him. Was always organising and driving them forward. Should be the starter.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7 – An early yellow card limited how aggressively he could press but he still played well. A brick wall at the back and even a couple of tasty runs to boot.

Eric Bailly – 8 – Some dodgy early defending but then found his feet and repeatedly showed why he’s an ideal partner for Maguire by using his speed to recover and deny La Real when the Spanish side got in behind. Made a game-high 8 clearances and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will just be praying he can stay fit until the end of the season.

Harry Maguire – 8 – Rock solid at the back, as he always is when next to Eric Bailly. Made countless clearances.

Alex Telles – 8 – Some excellent passing got United going in attack and was solid defensively with 3 tackles and 2 interceptions. You can see why Luke Shaw has upped his game lately if he has to compete for the role with Telles.

Scott McTominay – 7 – Bulldozed his way forward on more than one occasion. Some nice touches and drives. Went off early.

Fred – 8 – Cleaned up after everyone with some aggressive play and picked up a simply gorgeous assist for Rashford.

Daniel James – 7 – Full of running but not much else in the first-half. After the break he started adding a bit more including an accidental assist and even a goal where he nutmegged the goalkeeper.

Bruno Fernandes – 9 – A constant menace to Real Sociedad. Had a shot cleared off the line and then opened the scoring with a clever bit of attacking play where he stood back, let the Sociedad players tackle each other, before finishing neatly. Doubled United’s lead with a preposterous finish that saw him claw the ball out from behind him and slapped it into the back of the net. Even when Manchester United want to rest him they know they can’t because he is so fundamental to everything they do. He’s not part of the system, he is the system.

Marcus Rashford – 8 – His movement was impeccable all night and La Real couldn’t get anywhere near him, but his finishing was woeful as he blasted shots straight at Remiro. Produced a sumptuous pass that led to United’s first two goals, however. Peeling the ball, Ronaldinho-esque, off the left touchline curving towards goal. Added his side’s third goal with cool and composed finish later too.

Mason Greenwood – 7 – Sharp complimentary movement and dogged defensive work. Never really got a clean look at goal but worked hard.

Substitutes:

Nemanja Matic (for McTominay 60′) – 6 – Was solid. Shifted the ball nicely.

Anthony Martial (for Rashford 68′) – 6 – Worked hard defensively but didn’t do much in attack.

Juan Mata (for Fernandes 83′) – 5 – A couple of bright bits of movement but missed a good chance to score.

Amad Diallo (for Greenwood 83′) – 6 – Only got the ball once but showed promise when he did, carrying the ball 40 yards and dribbling by La Real defenders effortlessly.


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Real Sociedad

Alex Remiro – 7 – An incredible display ruined by a moment of hesitance when he came out to get a long pass but deferred to his defenders, leaving him in no man’s land and Bruno Fernandes with an open goal. Was otherwise excellent as he repeatedly denied United’s forwards.

Joseba Zaldua – 6 – Competed well in terms of tackling but couldn’t handle United’s movement.

Igor Zubeldia – 4 – Couldn’t live with United’s pace and movement in behind and his error ended up assisting Bruno Fernandes for an easy opening goal. Not his best night despite 6 clearances.

Robin Le Normand – 6 – Baffling bit of defending when he put off Zubeldia and caused Bruno Fernandes to score but that was just him balancing out his brilliant clearance off the line to deny the Portuguese a goal earlier.

Nacho Monreal – 5 – Dan James had him on toast all night and when you’re getting undone by Dan James you know there’s a problem.

Asier Illarramendi – 7 – Worked tirelessly to close United down and prevent them making headway. Won possession back 5 times with a team

Mikel Merino – 7 – A superb little midfielder. Couldn’t show off his passing skills but worked his socks off to try and contain United defensively.

David Silva – 6 – Absolutely sublime in possession. United could not get a handle on him and his dribbling. Unfortunately La Real couldn’t really get him on the ball anywhere near enough.

Adnan Januzaj – 5 – Looked lively as he tried to impact his old side, but in the end did nothing.

Mikel Oyarzabal – 5 – Didn’t get as involved as he would have liked.

Alexander Isak – 6 – Made some sublime runs off the ball. Really tested United in the early going. Ended the match isolated.

Substitutes:

Adoni Gorosabel (for Zaldua 73′) – 5 – Replaced Zaldua and ran hard.

Ander Guevara (for Illarramendi 74′) – 5 – Couldn’t really impact proceedings.

Ander Barrenetxea (for Isak 80′) – n/a – Came on late.

Portu (for Januzaj 80′) – n/a – Came on late.

Jon Bautista (for Oyarzabal  ) – n/a – Came on late.