PLAYER RATINGS: Manchester United at Sheffield United

Boy, United sure insist on doing things the hard way. While yet another road comeback win secured United a place in history, it certainly wasn’t good for anyone’s health. United continue to show an incredible mentality to drive on after conceding early, but this certainly isn’t sustainable. The belief that you are never out of a game is crucial to title winning sides, but one of these games that belief won’t be enough, and in this crazy season, we cannot afford to make things any harder than they need to be.

Manager

Ole Gunner Solskjaer – He got the selection right, but the slow starts have got to be a major concern. Game after game it feels like the lads don’t leave the dressing room until after the 20th minute. At some point, the inability to come out firing has to blow back on the manager. Even if Sheffield’s opener was an individual howler, the entire side looked thoroughly overrun in midfield from the off. Made smart changes when the match seemed well in hand, but for once, the substitutes bench subtracted the quality of play on the pitch. 6.

Defense

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Put in some crucial tackles, as is his standard. Actually seemed to be more decisive in the final third than usual, though didn’t make a serious impact. Will be looking to build on this performance going into Christmas. 6.5.

Victor Lindelof – Continued to struggle against a team that wants to go direct. Seemed outmatched in the air on numerous occasions, though was unlucky to be responsible for the second goal. An absolutely beautiful through ball for Rashford’s equalizer. 6.

Harry Maguire – Slow physically and mentally at the beginning. Missed some passes because he lacked the courage to drive his foot through the ball. Settled in better, and helped as an outlet for the midfield when attacks ran out of steam. Never felt like he was going to be the guy to steady the ship, but fortunately, he didn’t need to be. 6.

Alex Telles – Let off the hook when he drifted too far inside before a dangerous cross. Looked like an exact replica of RB’s second, but a lack of quality in the finish spared his blushes. Pushed forward in attack well, and was always available on an overlap. Unlucky that the referee missed haw good his late challenge actually was, and his recovering ability is encouraging. 6.5.

Midfield

Nemanja Matic – An underrated, if visually frustrating performance. Looked well off the pace early, and seemed to stop several promising United counterattacks in their tracks with his lack of decision making. Once the rest of the midfield started taking over, his willingness to sit deep behind the back two allowed the creative players to go to work worry free. 5.5.

Paul Pogba – Continues to be United’s enigma. Got caught on the ball too often, leaving the defense vulnerable, but then would pull something out of the top drawer, and make up for it. His first time, no look pass for Martial was something for the highlight reel, and he put Mousset in the bender to start the move for the third goal. For all the frustrations surrounding the player, he is easily the second best player on this team. If he wants to stay, United cannot force him out. 8.5.

Bruno Fernandes – Noteworthy for his lack of noteworthiness. United finally got a positive game from enough other pieces to render his ineffectiveness moot. While these games are not common, they are going to happen, and it was encouraging to see his improved attitude even though he wasn’t the star man. 6.

Forwards

Mason Greenwood – Struggling to make an impact this term, and today was no different. Got lost out wide too often, and when he did get some space, picked the wrong ball. His width opened space for the rest of the team, so the sacrifice was worth it. Hopefully he is able to keep his chin up and recognize the 3 points are all that matters. 6.

Marcus Rashford – Another enigmatic performer on the night. Caught offsides a few times trying to get United back into the match, and chose to ignore other options in favor of a few unnecessary 1 v 1 moments. Then, it was like the lightbulb went off, and he became unplayable. Absolutely sublime finish under pressure for the equalizer. Should have had a second in the first half, but shot low and at Ramsdale. 7.5.

Anthony Martial – Didn’t touch the ball in an onside position for the first 20 minutes. His effort level still is subpar, but ran a little harder after his goal. Lucked out that Ramsdale misjudged the pass to him, but a goal is a goal, and hopefully that gets him off the mark. 6.

Substitutes

Juan Mata – Was never the focal point of any forward play, though his passing ability got United out of some traffic jams. Was in the right place at the right time for a classic volley, and was unlucky it took a deflection. 6.

Donny Van de Beek – Unusually poor and nervy performance from the Dutchman. Had the ball in acres of space to kill the game, and somehow picked the wrong pass. Made a foul late on that was unnecessary, and allowed Sheffield to bomb the ball up again. 3.

Scott McTominay – Came on late to provide stability with United reeling a bit. N/A

Up Next

We reignite the bitter rivalry with Leeds in a massive fixture. Old Trafford will remain empty, but Solskjaer’s knowledge of what this game means to the red half of Manchester should have the lads fired up.

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