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Manchester United recorded back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time this season by beating Sheffield United 2-1 on a sombre Saturday night at Bramall Lane. Hours after the announcement of Sir Bobby Charlton’s sad passing, Scott McTominay and Diogo Dalot’s strikes earned a crucial three points.
Team selection raises eyebrows
Erik ten Hag’s options have been limited in his second season in charge due to an unprecedented injury crisis, particularly in defence.
But Mason Mount has been one of United’s best players since his return from injury. Seeing him drop to the bench raised concerns among the fanbase..
And United’s performance didn’t exactly justify the selection. The Red Devils were wasteful in midfield and missed Mount’s intensity before he emerged as a late substitute.
Ten Hag found success in limited rotation last season. But dropping Mount in favour of Antony, largely ineffective, came across like needless rotation, which United very nearly paid for.
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McTominay continues scoring streak
McTominay was arguably worthy of a start, given he rescued United in the 2-1 victory over Brentford at Old Trafford last time out.
And he netted his third goal in two games on the half-hour mark, repaying Ten Hag’s faith and justifying his starting role.
Dalot is also leaving Ten Hag with a selection headache with his recent performances, and not just because of his sensational winning strike.
He has come into his own during Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s injury absence. He is set to return in the current block of fixtures but may face a fight to regain his spot.
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Mentality problem persists
United held on at the end to win their 10th consecutive Premier League game against a newly-promoted side, their longest such run since 12 successive triumphs from May 2011 to March 2013.
But Ten Hag’s side couldn’t shake off a prominent mentality issue that has stifled them on numerous occasions this term.
Six minutes after McTominay opened the scoring, Oli McBurnie fired Sheffield United level from the penalty spot.
United have too often conceded shortly after finding the net of late, an issue that Ten Hag must resolve if they are going to progress in the coming months.
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For Sir Bobby Charlton
“Everyone is going to play with him in mind tonight,” McTominay vowed before kick-off at Bramall Lane.
That was in reference to Sir Bobby, who sadly passed away aged 86 on Saturday morning, leaving the entirety of United in mourning.
Red Devils players wore black armbands to pay tribute to one of the country’s greatest-ever footballers, and he was also the subject of a minute’s applause before kick-off.
Sir Bobby’s name was heralded in the away end at the start of the game, the end, and in between. United’s three points were, without a doubt, in honour of the legacy he has left at Old Trafford.
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