After a man of the match performance on the weekend against Hull City, Ander Herrera put in another impressive display on Tuesday night to help Manchester United earn a 2-1 home win over Stoke.
United took the lead in the 21st-minute when Marouane Fellaini headed in Herrera’s left-wing cross at the far post, before Stoke equalised through Steven N'Zonzi's low shot six minutes before the break.
The home side regained the lead just before the hour, however, when Juan Mata’s free-kick from the right sneaked in for what proved to be the winning goal, with Louis van Gaal’s side now strengthening their place in the Premier League’s top-four after four successive victories.
While the two scorers would steal the headlines on the night, it was Herrera who stood out as United’s most impressive performer, as the Spaniard was involved in much of his team’s smart play, revelling in a more advanced role at the top of the midfield diamond.
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Arriving from Athletic Bilbao this summer for £29 million, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the 25-year-old at Old Trafford so far, having initially struggled to regain his place in the side after returning from a broken rib suffered against West Ham United in October.
He had been an unused substitute for four consecutive games prior to the Hull match but, after replacing the injured Angel Di Maria in the 15th-minute, his showing in the 3-0 win appears to have won back his manager’s confidence.
“I have to say Herrera came in and did fantastic,” Van Gaal told reporters after the match. “I was very pleased with how he did. He is a very fit player which is why I also let him play in the Reserves. I’m very happy for him because he needed a good performance.”
The Dutchman is likely to be even happier after his latest display, with Herrera sure to have solidified his place in the starting line-up moving forward.