Manchester United opened their account in the Europa League with a win as they cruised past Moldovan outfit Sheriff Tiraspol 2-0 on Thursday.
Both goals came in the first-half with Jadon Sancho netting the opener before Cristiano Ronaldo slotted home a penalty to ensure three points for the visitors.
Strong team, strong display
The duo have now kept three clean sheets in five games that they have started together. The centre-back pairing hardly put a foot wrong at the Zimbru Stadium.
And the regulars including Christian Eriksen showed that by getting to play together for a couple of matches now, they have built a healthy understanding.
Christian Eriksen’s first half by numbers vs. Sheriff Tiraspol:
83% pass accuracy
2 long balls completed
2 key passes
1/1 ground duels won
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— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 15, 2022
Especially heartening to see was the midfield combo of Eriksen and McTominay dominate proceedings.
The Dane has started in all of United’s games this season, highlighting his importance to Ten Hag’s plans. His assist for the first goal was class and he could have had a few more to his name if not for some last-ditch defending from the hosts.
Eriksen has been complimentary of his midfield partner in recent interviews and the Scot showed why he is a guaranteed starter ahead of the much-more accomplished Casemiro. He mopped up when required and was always an available outlet in attack.
Ten Hag will be pleased that his only fit centre forward at the moment, Ronaldo finally got on the scoresheet. The Portuguese was not his usual effervescent self but his opening goal of the campaign should give him some much-needed confidence.
The second half was a much more tepid affair but the manager will be pleased to see Casemiro get a sold half of football under his belt as he tries to get used to his new surroundings and the return of Luke Shaw after an injury-enforced absence.
The win highlighted that the Dutch manager is likely to pick the same side barring Ronaldo for the Manchester Derby provided everyone remains fit.