Manchester United huffed and puffed their way to a last-minute 1-0 win against Omonia Nicosia at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Substitute Scott McTominay spared Erik ten Hag’s blushes on the night after his forward players were guilty of missing gilt-edged chances throughout the game.
The Dutchman has often spoken of his desire to see his team show aggression and decisiveness in games, but that was missing on Thursday.
Woeful finishing + fantastic keeping
Marcus Rashford tried his best and had multiple shots on target but Omonia keeper Francis Uzoho was equal to it on the night, making terrific save after save.
United dominated proceedings right from the word go which can be evidenced from the fact that they had 34 shots in total to their opponents’ 3.
The Red Devils had 13 shots on target to Omonia’s one while the hosts enjoyed 78% of the possession.
The Dutchman did not get frustrated and made smart substitutions and they paid off in the end.
Jadon Sancho has been criticised of late due to his lack of effort but on Thursday, the England international’s brief cameo was lively and it was his deflected shot which fell to fellow substitute McTominay to slot home.
Subs win it for Utd
The Scotsman is set to miss the weekend’s game against Newcastle United but he made the telling contribution in the end. Casemiro had a fine game but Ten Hag’s substitution showed he knew how to get the best out of his team.
Another substitute Luke Shaw dovetailed brilliantly with Rashford and later Sancho and he is expected to keep his place for the weekend’s league clash.
Ten Hag seems to be slowly mastering the ability to make telling substitutions and that showed against Omonia.
Even in the previous fixture against the same opponents, Rashford and Anthony Martial had combined to save United’s blushes. The same trick was repeated in the league as Cristiano Ronaldo came on to score the winner against Everton.
He will, however, be worried with the form finishing ability showcased by Ronaldo and Rashford as they ended up missing chances galore.
Martial’s injury might mean the Dutch boss has no choice but to trust the same players once again.
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