Wednesday 13 September 2017

Rotated Reds return to Europe's top table in style

United made a winning return to the Champions League with an impressive 3-0 victory over the Swiss champions in our Group A opener.

Whoever would have thought that much-maligned duo Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini would be such influential players for United in the Champions League under Jose.

Yet it was those two who proved the Reds go-to men in the deservedly impressive win over Basel.

Young was a surprise choice to be drafted in at right-back against Basel, as Mourinho elected to put him in at the deep end to give Antonio Valencia a breather.

Before the game, the United manager said he felt "weaker" without the unmistakeable presence  of Fellaini in his squad.
He may not have started this match, but he certainly had the biggest impact on it, as he scored one and made another having replaced the hamstrung Paul Pogba after 19 minutes.

It is a testament to Fellaini's man of the match display that United did not break stride following the loss of the in-form Frenchman.

Fellaini was strong and assertive in the tackle, neat and tidy with his passing and once again showcased his aerial prowess with his headed opener.

Young provided the assist as he picked out the onrushing Belgian who finished the move with a trademark bullet header. 

Fellaini got the ball rolling for United and then turned provider late on with an incisive pull-back to set up Rashford for the third and final goal.

Depending on the severity of Pogba's untimely injury, United may need Fellaini now more than ever. 

Fellaini's goal was his first goal in the Champions League, whilst Romelu Lukaku and Rashford also scored on their debuts in the tournament. 

For Rashford, it was yet another strike on his first appearance in a competition, having also netted on his League, Europa League, League Cup, FA Cup, Manchester derby and England U21 and senior debuts. 

He's making it impossible for Mourinho to leave him out of this United side. 

Having started three of our four Premier League matches so far, he was given a rest to allow Anthony Martial a go from the start.
Seven minutes after his introduction, he latched on to Fellaini's cross and swept in the third to rubber-stamp a professional United win.

It was his third goal in as many games, and another debut strike to further underline his status as one of the most natural finishers in the English game. 

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