Man Utd: Van de Beek backed to succeed by de Boer
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Manchester United clinched a draw against Atalanta in the Champions League on Tuesday night with Cristiano Ronaldo coming to the rescue. It was another disappointing performance from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side but, because of their 36-year-old talisman, they’re still on course to qualify for the knockout stages. And three players impressed on the night in Italy.
United fell behind against Atalanta in the 12th minute when Josip Ilicic put the hosts ahead.
But Ronaldo levelled for the visitors just before the interval, striking after some neat work from Bruno Fernandes.
Atalanta then restored their advantage through Duvan Zapata, who got the better of Harry Maguire before poking the ball past David De Gea.
However, United secured a point through Ronaldo in stoppage time – with the veteran expertly volleying home after a pass from Mason Greenwood.
It was a good evening for the Red Devils, in the end, despite them being second best throughout large parts of the match.
And three players, including Donny van de Beek, have now done enough to earn a chance going forward…
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Donny van de Beek
United have barely played Van de Beek since the 24-year-old arrived from Ajax last year.
The Netherlands international has made just four Premier League starts in the time since – with none coming so far this term.
Van de Beek was introduced late against Atalanta but, despite that, impressed by taking up some good positions on the field.
He was involved in the build-up to Ronaldo’s second goal and could even have won the match late on, seeing an effort saved.
United now have to consider pairing him alongside Scott McTominay, especially with Paul Pogba producing some dire displays at present.
And the way Van de Beek performed, during his brief cameo, was a shining light from the match in Italy.
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It’s been a rough start to life at United for Jadon Sancho.
Still without a goal or assist since his £73million move from Borussia Dortmund, the England international has failed to live up to expectations so far.
Yet Sancho, like Van de Beek, impressed during his short time on the field.
The former Manchester City winger added some potency to United’s attack, offering a threat that Marcus Rashford failed to provide on the night.
It’s understandably hard for United to cram all of their attackers into their squad but Sancho has done enough to show he deserves selecting, especially with City up next.
United would have almost certainly lost to Atalanta had they not had Eric Bailly.
The Ivory Coast international was superb in Bergamo, coming to his side’s rescue time and time again.
And with Harry Maguire struggling, and Raphael Varane injured again, Bailly warrants selection.
His speed and composure on the ball are two of his best traits and, while he’s still guilty of the odd moment of madness, Bailly has done enough to show he deserves a chance.
Solskjaer has been reluctant to give it to him so far but the United defender, on his day, has the potential to impress.
With the goals continuing to leak, they could do a lot worse than giving Bailly more time on the field.
Solskjaer hails Ronaldo
Speaking after United’s draw with Atalanta, Solskjaer hailed Ronaldo for his brace.
“It’s a tight game, flows both ways. Their two goals [were] very tight,” he said.
“[I was] hoping for offside of course for the second and for the first as well, because I think he’s offside. I think he interferes with David’s view.
“The second is very close, good pass. But Cristiano’s is just incredible.
“That’s what he does. If there’s anyone you want the chance to fall to in the last minute… and it’s a difficult chance.
“He keeps his eye on the ball and his technique on that volley is incredible.”
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