Celta Vigo 0-1 Manchester United: Lessons learned from first leg triumph for Red Devils

Manchester United have a massive advantage to take back for the home leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo. The Red Devils finished the game with a 0-1 victory, the all important goal coming from, who else, but Marcus Rashford.

United initially struggled to cope with the pressing style of Eduardo Berizzo's side. The home side tested Sergio Romero in goal early on through Daniel Wass. However, for the rest of the first half, they failed to create any real chances. As for the Red Devils, they failed to take the chances that fell their way early on, with Rashford leading the line and troubling the Celta defenders all game long.

The second half was a bit similar to the first, with Celta getting the first big chance through  Pione Sisto.  Midway through the game, Rashford provided United with just the spark they needed, beating Sergio Alvarez with a beautifully taken free kick, shades of David Beckham in the 19-year old's strike there. United then managed to finish the game 1-0, with the hugely important away goal to take back to Old Trafford.

The Red Devils  now head back home to Manchester with a lead to defend and the final in Stockholm in their sights. 

Let's take a look at the lessons we've learned from the game-

United better in attack with Rashford

Now that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out injured for the next year or so, Rashford is expected to step up, and he has. The 19 year old was brilliant on the counter for United and his link-up play with fellow attackers was very impressive as well.

He tested Sergio, in the Celta goal, with a very well taken shot from outside the box early on. Throughout the game, Rashford was a constant threat to the Celta backline. Picking up knock-downs from Marouane Fellaini, linking up with Jesse Lingard, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba, the United no.19 was doing it all.

Although he didn't have many clear-cut chances, Rashford took the one chance that didn't seem clear cut, when he scored that free-kick in the second half.

Now obviously, Rashford offers a different kind of threat to opposition teams when compared to his Swedish teammate. But there is another argument in the youngster's favour that United look much quicker on the counter and much more incisive when he's starting up top. The momentum is rarely lost when Rashford runs at defences, his runs in behind are very impressive as well.

Pogba back to his usual best in midfield

Pogba made his first start for United, since picking up a knock against Burnley in the Premier League. The Frenchman put in the sort of all-round performance that he has done all season for the Red Devils and dominated the middle of the park.

Celta tried to contain the United no.6 with Nemanja Radoja and Pablo Hernandez, but Pogba was in no mood of letting them get in his way on the night. He showed his incredible value to Mourinho's side in midfield, orchestrating play from midfield alongside Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera.

Pogba's eye for a good pass was there for all to see on a few occasions throughout the game. He picked out Mkhitaryan with a sharp through ball, but the Armenian failed to put the ball into the back of the net, in a one-on-one situation against Sergio Alvarez.

Pogba's offensive contributions were just as good as his defensive contributions throughout the game. He was winning the ball from the centre of the pitch and gliding into the huge spaces that the Celta midfield was leaving in front of the defence. 

Pogba showed that he is back to full fitness and ready to play a key role in United's push for the top four as well as the Europa League.

Fellaini impressive as well

Fellaini started the game alongside Herrera and Pogba in a midfield three and the Belgian was impressive in the role given to him by Mourinho.

He was particularly effective for the Red Devils in the air, using his primary strengths to good effect against Celta's defence and midfield throughout the game.

The clearances from Romero were brought down well by the big Belgian on a few occasions, as he linked up play with his direct approach.

Fellaini has been criticised by fans and pundits alike, for some of his performances this season. However, he was a target man for United in periods of the game. Daley Blind always looked to pick out the Belgian with his long range passes from the back and Fellaini was all the more happy to chest those passes down and pass them down to the more skillful players in the team, the likes of Pogba and Mkhitaryan.

Same story for Red Devils with wasted chances

Yet another away leg in the Europa League ended on a 1-0 note, Mourinho's side have made this scoreline, something of a habit late in the season.

While United didn't create a plethora of chances in this one, the ones they did create, they failed to take. Mkhitaryan was presented with an excellent chance by Pogba to give his side the lead, but the Armenian took too much to strike the ball.

Jesse Lingard was guilty of missing a few good chances as well. The 24 year old was presented with two very clear chances. The first one being a miss from close range, after Rashford had set him up well with a cross from the left.

The second chance was lashed over the bar in the second half by the United no.14, when composure was needed, Lingard failed to put the ball into the back of the net, to make his side's lead a much more comfortable one.

United now turn their attention to facing Arsenal in the Premier League, as they look to stay on their push for Champions League qualification.

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