Manchester United began their Europa League campaign tonight against Feyenoord – but it turned out to be a somewhat subdued affair.
Chances were in short supply at either end as the game struggled to get off the ground, and José Mourinho’s decision to make a triple substitution on the hour mark told its own story.
The deadlock was finally broken with twelve minutes remaining, Tonny Vilhena with a well-taken finish to give the home side all three points, and give Mourinho and Man United their second consecutive defeat.
But how did the individual players from either side fare in what was a poor game at De Kuip?
Feyenoord Player Ratings:
Brad Jones – 6: Good stop from Ibrahimovic at one point, but like De Gea, the former Liverpool keeper didn’t have a whole lot to do.
Rick Karsdorp – 6.5: Battled well against Martial, held his own against the Man United forward. Had no trouble from Rojo.
Eric Fernando Botteghin – 8: The Rashford silencer. Nullified the threat from the young striker (and Zlatan) brilliantly with a number of important tackles and clearances.
Terence Kongolo – 7: Another Feyenoord defender who gave a great account of himself for the entire match.
Jan-Arie van der Heijden – 7: More clearances than any other player on the pitch. Never gave Mata an inch. Very solid display.
Karim El Ahmadi – 6.5: Lively display from El Ahmadi, more important in an indirect sense rather than any direct influence.
Tonny Vilhena – 8: The matchwinner, and the constant source of threat in the Feyenoord midfield.
Dirk Kuyt – 6: Dogged display from the former Liverpool player, but Kuyt didn’t have much influence on the game in an overall sense.
Jens Toornstra – 6.5: Was relatively quiet in the second half, but his first period display made up for it. MAde the most of the ball when he had, but didn’t see much of it in relation to his teammates.
Steven Berghuis – 7.5: Brilliant passing ability from the winger on loan from Watford. Enegetic display from Berghuis.
Nicolai Jorgensen – 6.5: Not quite the focal point for an attack that a striker perhaps should be, but Jorgensen’s effort allowed others, including Vlhena, to come into the game more.
Bilal Basacikoglu (Berghuis 68) – 6: Had the benefit of a non-existent threat from Rojo to contend with, but couldn’t do much with it.
Bart Nieuwkoop (Kardsorp 90) – N/A: Had no time to make an impact
Manchester United Player Ratings:
David de Gea – 6: Didn’t really need to do much (apart from pick the ball out of the net). Feyenoord weren’t exactly heavy on the attack
Matteo Darmian – 5: This is why he’s behind Antonio Valencia. Was completely bypassed at times by the Feyenoord wide play.
Chris Smalling – 7: Assured performance from tonight’s Man United captain, should keep his place when compared with Daley Blind’s display in the derby.
Eric Bailly – 7: Ran off a dead leg to give another fine display at the heart of the defence. Has quickly become Manchester United’s most important defender.
Marcos Rojo – 4: Oh Marcos. That’s no way no try to displace Luke Shaw.
Ander Herrera – 6.5: Looked up to the task in what became a pretty physical game. Has earned a start against Watford.
Morgan Schneiderlin – 7: When Mourinho eventually decides to operate with three midfielders, Schneiderlin is front and centre to be at the base. Fine holding display tonight.
Paul Pogba – 5: On a par with how he performed in the derby on Saturday, if not slightly worse.
Juan Mata – 5: Struggled here. Mata won’t be a regular starter under Mourinho and performances like this won’t change Mourinho’s mind.
Anthony Martial – 6: Better from Martial than recent displays this season, but still not up to last season’s standard.
Marcus Rashford – 6: Perhaps tried a bit too hard to make an impression in his first start under Mourinho. Dispossessed too easily at times when taking unnecessary touches.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Rashford 63) – 6: Provided a focal point for the Man United attack, but couldn’t gauge the pace of the game having come on in the middle of it.
Ashley Young (Mata 63) – 5: Won’t get near a league game if this is the standard that he shows when he comes on.
Memphis Depay (Martial 63) – 5: See Young, Ashley