Saint-Etienne 0-1 Manchester United: Player ratings as Red Devils stroll through to last 16

Saint-Etienne 0-1 Manchester United: Player ratings as Red Devils stroll through to last 16

Henrikh Mkhitaryan scores as Eric Bailly is sent off in front of raucous home crowd in southern France.

ryan-fisher
Ryan Fisher

Manchester United progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League after beating Saint-Etienne 1-0 on the night, and 4-0 on aggregate. 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan's early strike was enough for United in front of a fiery home crowd, after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's first leg hat-trick gave Jose Mourinho's side a comfortable advantage.

The tie was marred by injury concerns for the Red Devils, as both goalscorer Mkhitaryan and veteran midfielder Michael Carrick limped off with injuries, putting their place in the side for the EFL Cup final in serious jeopardy. 

Eric Bailly was dismissed after receiving two yellow cards in three minutes, and will miss the first leg of the last 16 tie in the Europa League. Here's how the players rated.

Goalkeeper and defence

Sergio Romero - 6: A toothless Saint-Etienne attack posed very few problems to Romero. The Argentinian, playing on his 30th birthday, made a couple of good saves but lacked the quality of distribution that is usually provided by number one stopper David de Gea.

Ashley Young - 7: The former England international started at full-back for the second consecutive game, and was strangely untroubled by Romain Hamouma, who had looked so dangerous in the first leg. As a winger by trade, Young's best work came going forward, where he looked a constant threat to Florentin Pogba.

Chris Smalling - 7: The United third-captain looked increasingly comfortable as the tie went on. Under very little pressure from the French side's attack, he was allowed to safely distribute the ball into midfield. A run of solid performances will surely earn Smalling his place in the side for the EFL Cup final at Wembley.

Eric Bailly - 4: The Ivorian defended solidly for the majority of the game. He made a goal-saving challenge to deny Kevin Monnet-Paquet after the attacker had gone past Romero. But two yellow cards in the space of three minutes, albeit the second caution being particularly harsh, saw Bailly dismissed, and ruled out of the first leg of the last 16 tie.

Daley Blind - 5: The Dutchman's defensive solidity is unquestionably his best attribute, and one that should see him selected for the final on Sunday. On a night where he had very little defensive work to do, Blind struggled to impact the game in an attacking sense, particularly with a poor standard of delivery into the box.

Midfield and attack

Michael Carrick - 7: United have lost just once when the veteran midfielder has started, and it's easy to see why. Controlling the pace and tempo of the game with ease and grace, Carrick went about his business in a typically quiet style, linking defense and attack seamlessly.

Marouane Fellaini - 6: The Belgian's hopes of a start in the final were boosted by injuries to Mkhitaryan and Carrick, and he did himself no disservice against les vertes. Fellaini was able to break up the play well and use his physicality to impose himself on a tame Saint-Etienne midfield.

Paul Pogba - 7: The Frenchman enjoyed a successful return to his home country. Powerfully imposing himself over Saint-Etienne, Pogba's forceful dribbling and sheer power was far too much for the Ligue 1 side to handle. Moving into an attacking role helped him influence the game more later on in the match.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan - 7: The Armenian got the only goal on the night with a very clever glancing finish past keeper Stephane Ruffier. His night was cruelly cut short before the half-hour mark thanks to an apparent hamstring injury which could sideline him from the EFL Cup final.

Juan Mata - 8: The Spaniard delivers goals this season whenever he plays, goals and assists. This match was no different, Mata was popping up in dangerous positions all over the pitch, wreaking havoc in the usually solid Saint-Etienne defence. His ball in for the Mkhitaryan goal was perfectly placed and set United on the way to the last 16.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic - 6: The Swede decided the outcome of the tie in the first leg, with a phenomenal hat-trick. Despite his incredible record against Saint-Etienne, netting 17 goals in 15 games, he was unable to add to his impressive tally as United struggled to create, not that they really needed to. 

Substitutes

Marcus Rashford - 6: The English starlet is a great option as a super-sub. Replacing Mkhitaryan early on, Rashford provided frightening pace and direct dribbling to the United side, leaving the French side's defenders in his dust, but was unable to deliver a clear-cut chance for his side.

Bastian Schweinsteiger - 6: The German came on for a rare appearance and looked very assured, showing the great passing range that helped him to become a World Cup winner under Joachim Low. 

Marcos Rojo - 6: By the time Rojo replaced Mata, covering for the dismissed Bailly, Saint-Etienne had rather thrown in the towel, leaving the defeated World Cup finalist with very little to do.

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