Ashley Young's dramatic late strike sealed Manchester United a hard-fought 1-0 win at Newcastle United on Wednesday night.
David de Gea 7/10 – Made two excellent saves in the second-half, first keeping out Emmanuel Riviere from point-blank range, before stopping a last-gasp Papiss Cisse effort after United had taken the lead.
Antonio Valencia 6/10 – Got forward often, delivering a few teasing crosses into the area, but couldn’t manage to pose a serious enough threat to the Newcastle defence. Won’t have convinced Van Gaal that he’s the long-term answer at right-back with this performance.
Chris Smalling 6/10 – Looked nervous at times and was fortunate not to concede a spot-kick after bringing down Emmanuel Riviere in the box 10 minutes into the match. Far from his worst showing in a United shirt, although that’s perhaps not much of a compliment.
Jonny Evans 6.5/10 – A solid outing, albeit in the face of little danger, but a controversial spitting incident with Cisse overshadowed affairs on the night.
Marcos Rojo 7/10 – Looked much better at left-back than in past appearances and almost opened the scoring in the opening stages of the second-half with a spectacular long-range strike.
Ander Herrera 7/10 – Neat on the ball alongside Blind and showed impressive defensive bite for someone of his stature. It’s bizarre to think he was out of the line-up for so long this winter. Got caught out once when he lost possession to allow a Newcastle counter-attack but that was the one blot on his night.
Daley Blind 7/10 – Kept things ticking over in the midfield with a composed performance, ensuring that the back-four was never left in too much trouble. Looks like he’s becoming a real leader in the side with his organisational skills, too.
Angel Di Maria 4/10 – Another real struggle for the Argentine, who looks like a shell of his former self. Worked hard on the right flank but just couldn’t get a thing going, with Van Gaal opting to take him off before the hour in the end.
Marouane Fellaini 5/10 – Used in a number 10 role with Radamel Falcao dropped, the towering Belgian proved a virtual passenger for most of the first-half, before missing a couple of simple chances after the break. All in all, the experiment was not a success.
Ashley Young 7/10 – Looked like United’s best chance of a goal for long spells but spurned a great chance to open the scoring in the 55th-minute after firing a shot straight at Tim Krul. Made amends later, however, sliding the ball into an open net in the closing stages to seal his side the three points.
Wayne Rooney 7/10 – Determination and leadership was evident on the night. Could have got frustrated in his lone forward role but instead kept on working and managed to win the ball for Young’s late winner.
Adnan Januzaj (Di Maria 58) 5/10 – Given a chance to showcase his undoubted promise but failed to make the most of it.
Juan Mata (Fellaini 82) N/A – Not enough time to make an impact on the match.
Michael Carrick (Rojo 88) N/A – A late cameo to shore up the defence, although the goal came moments later.