Manchester United’s FA Cup win was up to the likes of Scott McTominay, who played with an intensity that made him a real difference in their team.
Manchester United’s FA Cup win on Sunday was a victory that will be remembered for the goalscoring heroics of Romelu Lukaku, but also for the performances of Scott McTominay. The young midfielder was one of the few bright lights in an otherwise uneven performance from United. Read more in detail here: epl.
6:01 p.m. Eastern
Dawson, Rob Correspondent
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom — On Monday night, Manchester United pulled off an FA Cup upset at Old Trafford, beating Aston Villa 1-0 to go to the third round. Steven Gerrard’s team had two goals disallowed, one after a protracted VAR stoppage, hit the crossbar, and pushed David de Gea into two spectacular saves, but were undone by Scott McTominay’s early header.
McTominay was chosen man-of-the-match, although he was up against stiff opposition. United is suffering both with and without the ball, and Villa will be looking forward to the two clubs meeting in the Premier League again on Saturday. In the fourth round, Middlesbrough will be licking their lips as well.
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“To claim this was a flawless game, no one would believe that it wasn’t,” United manager Ralf Rangnick remarked afterward. “We still have a lot of things to work on, but we started with a clean slate today and worked together.” There are still a lot of things to work on, but with a 1-0 victory, it’s a lot simpler.
“When it mattered most, we battled brilliantly as a team. It was a nice triumph in the end. Our aim was to advance to the next round.”
United, who were missing Cristiano Ronaldo due to injury, were outplayed to the point that they had just 37% possession after 65 minutes. When they did have possession of the ball, it was squandered. Pass after pass snuck past its intended recipient, landing on a white Villa jersey or the advertising boards. So much for Rangnick assisting United with game control. With 20 minutes remaining, the German was obliged to substitute his striker, Edinson Cavani, with Donny van de Beek, a midfielder.
Mason Greenwood and Luke Shaw both slumped to the ground when the final whistle blew. Victor Lindelof sagged in his chair. Given how much of the night had been spent chasing shadows, it was expected. McTominay, along with Raphael Varane, was one of the few players to get any praise, and not only because he scored the game’s solitary goal against Watford in the third round last season. Rangnick applauded him as he rushed into a thunderous challenge on the touchline in front of Gerrard in the opening minute. He was fastest out to stop Jacob Ramsey’s shot after heading in Fred’s beauty of a cross in the eighth minute, and when Marcus Rashford scuffed an opportunity just before half-time, he was first to the loose ball on the outside of the box, rushing past two Villa players.
Scott McTominay was named Manchester United’s player of the match after a lackluster effort. Manchester United/Getty Images/Matthew Peters
McTominay may not have a slew of sponsors or tens of millions of social media followers, but he is reliable and functional, and United could use a little of that right now. The greatest shout of the night came when he was proclaimed as man-of-the-match.
Minutes earlier, despite Mason Greenwood’s shot bouncing back into the area off Emiliano Martinez, there had been audible moans as Rashford, out of sorts once again, seemed to halt. Rashford and Fred were among the players who took to social media after the 1-0 loss to Wolves last week to respond to rumours of dressing room strife. On the field, McTominay did his talking.
A banner in the stands featuring photographs of previous captains Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, and Roy Keane under the phrase “standards” was unfurled before of kick-off. McTominay, at the very least, has some of the same guts and desire. He will be a major absence for United when they visit Villa Park this weekend, since he is suspended.
“He’s an academy kid with incredible enthusiasm,” Rangnick remarked. “He’s now starting to score goals and displaying some leadership abilities. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was the captain of this squad in a few years.”
Villa have now lost six FA Cup games in a row, but they deserved more here. After Ramsey had recovered from an offside position to knock off Cavani as John McGinn’s free-kick came into the area, Gerrard was left to lament the decision to rule out Danny Ings’ goal in the second half. It took almost four minutes for referee Michael Oliver and VAR Darren England to come to the consensus that the goal should not stand.
“Two or three items in it have been looked at,” Gerrard added. “When the VAR arrives and makes a decision, you must accept it.” There isn’t much you can do about it. We will not take the easy way out by blaming luck and bureaucrats.
“We need to concentrate on other issues rather than the VAR. It was not the cause of our defeat. For the most part, we dominated, but we weren’t ruthless enough.”
Despite the loss and another early FA Cup elimination, Gerrard praised Villa’s play, saying he had “no complaints.” Rangnick, on the other hand, is left with more questions than answers as he prepares for another match against Villa on Saturday.
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The “manchester united schedule” is a news article that discusses the FA Cup match between Manchester United and Derby County. It discusses how Scott McTominay’s performance saved yet another uneven showing.
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