Report by Dave Coleman 

Most definitely not the result we hoped for. When l saw our team l thought it was full of pace up front to worry City but l have to admit when l heard City’s team l realised Guardiola had learned from the recent win for us at the Etihad. The game started quite promisingly with our pace looking like it could be a problem for them. But the after just about a quarter of an hour they went down their right moved inside and scored a worldy which was really their first real attack of any note. It was a blow but perhaps one we could come back from. Unfortunately City were now full of confidence and their formation started to have an effect. Its great having 4 forward players but it leaves your 2 midfielders exposed particularly as City played with 5 across the middle. There were too many runners from midfield and our central defence had no one to mark. One good pass a failed attempt to intercept and easily round De Gea to make it 0-2. I think thats when Ole should have made the change he made at half time and maybe it would have stayed that way. Sadly we conceded a third when although De Gea made a great save the ball cannoned into Pereira who could do nothing to stop it rebounding into the net off him. That was a little unfortunate but it would be difficult to say City didnt deserve it. Matic came on for Lingard at the beginning of the second half and it was clear that it made a huge difference. We still conceded some breakaways to City that could have resulted in more goals but that was more because we had to chase the game. For much of the half we tried to break through City but with the lead they could sit back and nullify our major weapon our pace. We did score when we forced a mistake and Greenwood played Rashford in who finished very well. Sadly that was our only goal because l believe another could have been vital for the second leg. Theres no doubt City are a superior team to us at the moment and once they took the lead they showed it. But at least we made a game of it in the second half. De Gea had no chance with any of the goals and the defence was always going to have a difficult time when faced with so many unchecked midfield runners. Obviously in the first half the midfield was overrun but was much better in the second. Up front l thought James had probably his worst game for us and Greenwood and Rashford struggled to make any impact. Its clear we desperately miss Martials presence down the middle. Both full backs were decent and tried to push on Pereira wasnt bad and Matic certainly had a positive impact when he came on but for me our best player was again Fred who put everything into the game. Next match is Norwich at home in Premier League on Saturday. Come on United! 🇾🇪

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