87% pass-accuracy, 2 shots: United's Ander Herrera superb on first team return

Manchester United's Ander Herrera impressed on his return to the starting line-up, as the Red Devils overcame Preston at Deepdale.

Manchester United fans celebrated across various social media platforms as summer signing Ander Herrera received a rare first team start for Louis van Gaal's side in the 3-1 victory over Preston.

The Basque player has become the man identified as the Red Devils' saviour in his absence and he was able to prove a point as he led his side to an impressive second-half comeback. 

Given only his third start since the beginning of December, the man who came up with the breakthrough goal against Yeovil in the third round struck again. He managed two shots at goal throughout his 90-minute display - one of which hit the target - while fashioning a further key pass. He caused a nuisance throughout thanks to his creative presence, with his 65th-minute leveller capping an impressive display.  

  PositionGoalsKey PassesShot Accuracy (%)Total PassesPass Accuracy (%)TacklesInterceptClearMins
Ander Herrera RCM 1 1 50 61 86.9 3 1 1 90

It is fair to say, the Spaniard did not disappoint. While his contribution in the final third proved vital, his efforts to maintain possession and dictate the tempo were just as important. Herrera is excellent at recycling the ball quickly and efficiently. He is neat and tidy in possession and this showed as United dominated against their lower league opposition. The visitors maintained a 66% share of possession, while Herrera found success in 87% of his attempted passes and two take-ons. 

His contribution in a defensive capacity was just as impressive. He made a joint match-highest three tackles, alongside one interception and clearance. In Van Gaal's 4-1-2-1-2 formation - a system without wingers for added defensive protection - he offered suitable cover for Antonio Valencia down the right-flank. He committed just one foul all game; testament to his composure when out of possession.

Herrera will certainly have proven a point with his outing at Deepdale, and the Old Trafford faithful will be praying it is enough to see him feature more regularly. There's no doubt that he is a key player for the Red Devils, it is just a case of whether or not he is given the opportunity to show it. 

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