Manchester United had a horrific start to their season, but now in just the span of a single week, Erik ten Hag’s side managed to get two important wins. After beating Liverpool in the big Premier League clash, United went to the usually tricky St Mary’s away trip and came back home with another three points. United defeated Southampton 1-0, thanks to a Bruno Fernandes second half goal.
This was not a much where we had a lot of beautiful football on display, but it was a battle United needed to win. Following the Liverpool result, it was necessary to continue in the right direction and Ten Hag’s side managed to do just that. It was far from perfect, but considering where United were just a week ago, it is a breath of fresh air. Here is what we learned from the Devils’ second win of the campaign.
Same Team, Different Needs
Ten Hag was happy with how his team performed against Liverpool and for all the good reasons. That is why it was not unexpected to see him name the unchanged starting lineup, keeping all 11 players in the team for the trip to Southampton. However, while the lineup remained the same, the opponent did not and this was a completely game to that against Liverpool. While Jurgen Klopp’s side was happy to attack and try to score as often as possible, this time United did not have all the space such style of play offers to the opponent. Southampton were happy to let United have the ball and try to boss the game, which they struggled with. There was a lack of creativity from Man United, showing just how much more the team will have to work under Ten Hag, to create systems and clear plans of action for when positional play is needed.
Luke Shaw Under Threat
It may have been the case that not many Man United fans expected the club to sign another left-back with other positions being of higher priority to improve, but this was a hell of a week for Tyrell Malacia. The Dutch full-back has once again done great job in place of Luke Shaw, and that is bad news for England international. Shaw is seemingly losing his place in the starting lineup to a player who has shown high level of quality early on in the season in both directions of play. In the World Cup year, this could be a big problem for Shaw and his hopes of featuring for England in Qatar.
Fernandes Continues Improving
It seems that Ten Hag’s decision to move Harry Maguire not only improved performances in the back four, but that his decision to keep Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench also gave way to Bruno Fernandes’ improvements. With the captain’s armband, Bruno was crucial, not only because he scored a goal with a lovely volley early into the second half. He was more clinical with his passing and taking more responsibility overall. Hopefully his performances will continue to improve, we know all too well it is then that United improve as a whole as well.