Blood, sweat, and tears were shed last Wednesday evening in Manchester as Barcelona left with an underwhelming 1-0 victory over a Manchester United side that looked bereft of attacking impetus but put on a strong defensive display. The Catalan side probed and pressed at will with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez barraging the Manchester United defence with an onslaught of shots.

An early own goal after some exceptional work from Suárez may have set the tempo early on, but Manchester United held firm and produced an impressive performance limiting them to one goal. This tactical analysis will preview the second leg between Barcelona and Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final.

The Red Devils were picked apart in places with Ashley Young particularly poor on the night having been dispossessed 30 times and failed to accurately find 11 crosses. However, performances from Scott McTominay, Fred and Chris Smalling gave the fans something to write home about.

The midfield duo’s performance was the biggest positive to come out of Old Trafford. McTominay deputised for the injured Nemanja Matić and put in another breakout performance. The faith shown by Ole Gunnar Solskjær and José Mourinho before him has been vindicated. The Scot could become the next Michael Carrick with his humble demeanour and no-nonsense attitude.

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