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5 things learned: FC Sheriff 0-2 Manchester United (Europa League)

Cain Smith

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5 things learned: FC Sheriff 0-2 Manchester United (Europa League)

Featured Image Credit: Manchester United

Manchester United won comfortably against FC Sheriff to get their first three points in the Europa League under Erik ten Hag.

First half goals from Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo saw the Reds beat their opposition as there were multiple talking points from the game.

Here are five things we learned from United's win against FC Sheriff:

Jadon Sancho as cool as ever

The touch, turn and finish from Jadon Sancho for the opener was reminiscent of his goal against Liverpool. His composure in such situations remains top class and getting another goal will be good for his confidence going forward.

Earlier in the day, he was left out of the England squad for the upcoming friendly games. After an impressive performance, he will be looking to build on it in October as he aims to regain his place with The Three Lions.

Credit: Manchester United
Credit: Manchester United

It always seemed clear that Sancho would grow as United improved as a team. However, fans will be hoping that he can go onto another level as the season progresses. Another goal tonight shows that he's moving in the right direction.

Christian Eriksen is just what United needed

Christian Eriksen is continuing to show his class in every game he plays for the Reds. His disguised pass to assist Sancho for the opener was top quality and an example of what he can offer in the final third.

But he's continuing to dictate play and progress the ball from deeper. Despite a rather low intensity game, his forward thinking passes would inject some speed into the match. He also has the ability and know-how to assess when to keep the ball ticking in the deeper areas.


It's clear that he's one of Erik ten Hag's most important players and that will continue as the season goes on.

The ability that he's bringing to the midfield alongside Scott McTominay is great and the two performing well next to each other.

Cristiano Ronaldo: A goal but issues still on show

A first half penalty saw Cristiano Ronaldo end his goal drought. The forward struck his shot straight down the middle as he scored his first goal of the season.

While that will hopefully give the no.7 confidence going forward, the performance was not an improved one after he disappointed last week against Real Sociedad too.

Outside of the spot-kick, Ronaldo rarely offered much and it was partly due to his constant movement into deeper areas.

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When he looks to link-up in these positions, he either had poor quality with his touches or he would simply pass backwards. It would not impact the opposition block and would just leave United without their striker on the last line of defence.

Ronaldo might not be completely match fit, but his tendencies to drop deeper when he's not involved is becoming even more problematic for the Reds. With Ten Hag trying to build a possession-based team, the Portuguese is not helping the team by stretching the opposition backline or linking play well.

We cannot expect him to suddenly improve in different aspects, but finding his killer instinct in front of goal is needed sooner rather than later. The international break might help him with that.

Lisandro Martinez x Raphael Varane: The base to build from

Another clean sheet for the centre-back pairing that has impressed under Ten Hag. Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane give United a solid base to build from in each fixture.

They are beginning to transmit a calm yet aggressive energy from the first whistle and that allows United to grow in games.

Fixing the defensive issues was a number one priority when Ten Hag came into the job and this partnership, alongside other factors, is helping so much.

Martinez's progression and aggression is complemented by Varane's speed and calmness. It's continuing to look like a very good pairing at the back.

Fluid football: Slowly but surely

It's a long process, but goals like the one from Sancho show what Ten Hag is beginning to drill into this side. The passing and movement was also on show for goals against Leicester City and Arsenal, for example.

While it is not something that we're seeing consistently throughout games, being able to see the plan is great for fans.

The signs are there, with some good moves from the Reds, but they do need to continue to improve.

Topics: Manchester United, Europa League

Cain Smith
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