Manchester United 2-0 Hull City: Red Devils' player ratings from comfortable EFL Cup semi-final first-leg win

Manchester United 2-0 Hull City: Red Devils' player ratings from comfortable EFL Cup semi-final first-leg win

United controlled the 1st leg of the semi-final and are in a solid position to progress ahead of the second leg at the KCOM Stadium in two weeks time.

ryan-fisher
Ryan Fisher

Manchester United defeated Hull City 2-0 in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

Goals from Juan Mata and substitute Marouane Fellaini saw Jose Mourinho's men hand new Tigers boss Marco Silva his first loss as manager.

The Red Devils have the firm advantage over the Premier League's bottom side heading into the second leg, knowing they can even afford to lose by a single goal and still progress to the final at Wembley on February 26.

The defence

Goalkeeper - David de Gea - 7: The returning Spaniard didn't have a lot to do against one of the Premier League's weakest attacks. Other than a few very comfortable saves, De Gea was only bothered when Adama Diomande hit the post, in the only real scare for United.

Right-back - Antonio Valencia - 7: Valencia endured a very quiet first-half as United focused their attack down the left-hand side. The Ecuadorian enjoyed a far more involved second half. His pace and power down the right hand side caused problems for Hull full-back Andrew Robertson. He supplied the cross that led to the United opener, His well-placed delivery was headed down by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, allowing Mata an easy tap-in. 

Centre-back - Phil Jones - 6: Jones returned to the side after a well-earned rest after sitting out the third round FA Cup tie with Reading. His return to the side couldn't have been far less stressful, as the toothless Hull attack, fronted by Abel Hernandez, barely troubled the Englishman.

Centre-back - Chris Smalling - 6: Similarly to Jones, the United vice-captain enjoyed a very quiet night at the Theatre of Dreams. Making his way back into the team after an injury layoff, Smalling looked to grab his first-team place back, as Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly were missing for the EFL Cup clash. The Tigers' attack lacked any menace and made it a very easy night for the England international. 

Left-back - Matteo Darmian - 8: The Italian continued to establish himself as United's most reliable left-back option with a very solid showing at Old Trafford. Hardly troubled by a makeshift Hull right-hand side of Robert Snodgrass and David Meyler, Darmian was free to attack. United focused nearly half of their attacks down the left-hand side in the first half, and he was instrumental to those attacks. After a relatively quiet second half, Darmian supplied an enticing loopy cross that Fellaini headed into the back of the net to secure the victory.

The midfield

Centre-midfielder - Ander Herrera - 6: Playing  as the lone defensive midfielder, Herrera struggled to have his usual impact on the United side. He sat far too deep, which in turn forced Paul Pogba deeper, limiting his attacking capabilities. The Spaniard himself wasn't able to utilise his own creative abilities, and wasn't really required to break up the play all that much due to the poor quality of the Tigers.

Centre-midfielder - Paul Pogba - 6: The Frenchman struggled to have his usual impact on the game at Old Trafford. His pace and power was far less effective as he sat deeper in the pitch, due to the absence of Michael Carrick. The incredible passing range Pogba possesses was still evident, regularly picking out the full-backs with ease, but he missed partner in crime Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as he failed to get the same connection with starlet Marcus Rashford. His performance was almost transformed when a 25-yard free-kick struck the post, so close to a glorious moment in front of the Stretford End.

The attack

Right-winger - Juan Mata - 8: A man of the match display from the Spaniard helped United to a clear advantage in the tie. He was United's most dangerous player, using his great footwork and intricate passing to cause havoc in and around the Hull penalty area. He tested keeper Eldin Jakupovic early on with a powerful low shot, and used great skill to create a chance that the Armenian Mkhitaryan really should've converted. Mata was in the perfect position to convert United's opener, and took his chance wonderfully under a fair amount of pressure.

Centre-attacking-midfielder - Wayne Rooney - 5: The skipper was replaced pretty early on in the second half, which tells you all you need to know about his performance. Rooney really struggled to get into the game, not taking up great positions on the pitch. There was a feeling that all of his teammates were trying to find him so he could break Sir Bobby Charlton's goalscoring record, but he was unable to do so. Pogba's great ball over the top to him nearly resulted in this goal, as the England captain flashed just wide of the target.

Left-winger - Henrikh Mkhitaryan - 6: The Armenian enjoyed a truly inconsistent performance at Old Trafford. In between the adventurous runs forward and skillful dribbling there were misfired shots and misplaced passes. He had an incredible chance, beautifully created by Mata, to give United an early lead, but somehow he fired wide, poor for a player of his ability. He did end up with an assist, as he headed down to set up Mata for his goal, but he was replaced not long after the hour mark.

Striker - Marcus Rashford - 6: Rashford couldn't back up his solid FA Cup showing with another goalscoring performance at Old Trafford. The youngster simply didn't get the service from the creative players behind him, nor did he put himself in enough dangerous positions to really trouble the Hull back four. Rashford's most dangerous moments in the game were when he utilised his electric pace to press the Tigers defenders and put them under immense pressure.

The substitutes

Anthony Martial - 6: The Frenchman flattered to deceive for large parts of his appearance at Old Trafford. His lightning speed and great dribbling were neutralised by a very defensive Hull side, which rendered him one-dimensional for large parts of the final third of the match. He did have a part in United's second goal, however. After being floored, he still managed to find Darmian, who whipped the ball in for the finish.

Jesse Lingard - 4: Lingard desperately struggled to impress off the bench for the Red Devils. He seemed completely unwilling to take on the defenders and cause problems for them. His lack of adventure ultimately meant United were relying on full-back Valencia for creativity down that side of the field.

Marouane Fellaini - 7: The Belgian enjoyed his best moment in a United shirt since netting against old employers Everton in the FA Cup semi-final last season. A good substitute appearance culminated with a wonderful piece of attacking positioning that allowed him to a convert a glorious cross from Darmian with a powerful header into the back of the net.

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