PLAYER RATINGS: Manchester United 1-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
David De Gea – 6
De Gea wasn’t greatly tested but nearly got caught in possession as he dawdled on the ball on the edge of his area after only 20 minutes. The Spaniard recovered from that and was solid in from of his goal and made good stops from Alex Teixeira and Douglas Costa.
Alexander Buttner – 5
His defensive vulnerabilities were exposed on the left by Brazilians Taison and Fred. However, the Dutchman did well forward and put in a few teasing crosses into the box. Questions remain as to whether Buttner can become a full-time replacement for Patrice Evra but a lot of work on the defensive side of his play will need to done to convince the masses.
Jonny Evans – 6
Another solid defensive display and pivotal in keeping the Shakhtar strikers players at bay in the second-half. His passing, like the rest of the team, improved as the match went on. Danger in the opposition box and almost got his head to Van Persie’s corner.
Rio Ferdinand – 4
With pace having deserted Ferdinand the experienced defender was put to the sword by Shaktar’s strikers. He was embarrassed by Teixeira when caught in possession and was lucky that the forward failed to hit the target. This could well be the 35-year-olds last season at United.
Rafael – 6
Edging back to his best following his injury woes and was United’s best defender on the night, making a vital block from Vyacheslav Shevchuk early in the second half. Lively going forward as well, linking up well with Jones and Rooney, and provided some of the best crosses from the right.
Ryan Giggs – 5
The Welshman struggled to make any sort impact on the match. He was guilty of giving the ball away in dangerous areas to the likes of Taison and Teixeira. Giggs had little luck going forward to with many of his passes failing to find their target although his looped ball over the top provided Young with the perfect opportunity to open the scoring.
Phil Jones – 8
Marshaling the midfield definitely seems to Jones’ best position and he once again proved why Sir Alex Ferguson sees the him as a future England captain. Helped United gain back control in the middle of the park after half-time and found the back of the net, lashing from Robin van Persie’s corner.
Adnan Januzaj – 6
Making his European debut the 18-year-old was United’s brightest spark in a poor first half. Took a wonderful touch and turn inside the box to control Rafael’s cross before seeing his shot parried away Andriy Pyatov. Once again looked at ease wearing the United the shirt and certainly and exciting time prospect for the future.
Ashley Young – 5
Young was one of the livelier players and showed a lot of intent despite United being on the back foot in the first half. However, like many his passing and crossing was below par. Also spurned two guilt-edged chances, one of which had he passed to Wayne Rooney would have been a tap-in for the forward, failing to hit the target on both occasions much to the frustration of the Old Trafford crown.
Shinji Kagawa – 5
Largely anonymous following his return to the first team after reportedly having his stomach pumped for eating too much. Failed to get on the ball and when he did his passes were disappointingly wayward.
Wayne Rooney – 7
The Englishman was made captain for the night and played reasonably well. Found himself isolated early on but still has enough class to provide a pinpoint pass to put Ashley Young clear through and saw his fierce shot blocked by Olexandr Kucher. Exceptional vision from Rooney saw his 25-yard lob just marginally sail over the bar.
Tom Cleverley – 5
His introduction just after the half hour mark and helped raise the tempo of United’s play and easily had enjoyed one of his best performances in a Manchester United shirt. Harshly picked up a yellow card for a challenge on Darijo Srna.
Robin van Persie – 7
Turned the game on its head after his introduction. Added energy and influence to the home attack that were struggling to hit the target let alone score. Picked up an assist, taking the corner from which Jones scored from.
Antonio Valencia – 4
Only on the pitch for five minutes did little other than give away a couple of fouls.
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