Man United broken by Hector Moreno...and Louis van Gaal 6 years ago

Man United broken by Hector Moreno...and Louis van Gaal

Manchester United fans were excited about the team sheet prior to kick-off in Eindhoven.

The big news was that Anthony Martial was making his full debut for the club, but there were other reasons to be cheerful. The young striker would be flanked by speedsters Ashley Young and Memphis Depay.


It meant a stubborn but stodgy side would finally be granted some speed and movement up top. Plus fan favourite Juan Mata would finally get his chance to shine in a central position.

Some joked that it must have been Ryan Giggs who had chosen such a gung-ho team away from home; others hoped that Van Gaal had developed an unlikely daring side.



The big Dutchman himself admitted that his main reason for picking Martial wasn't bravado but bare options. Wayne Rooney was injured and Marouane Fellaini off-colour. Ah well, exciting nonetheless.

Although United started brightly, a shocking challenge by Hector Moreno changed all that. Luke Shaw was charging through the PSV defence with characteristic pace and power when he was snapped by the Mexican.

It was a horror 'tackle' that went somehow uncarded. It was a double fracture for Shaw, who had been in sparkling form this season - and thanks to Louis van Gaal - a double blow to United's fortunes.

As expected, Rojo was brought on. However, rather than being a like-for-like replacement, the Argentine was asked to play in central defence, with Daley Blind moving to the full-back position.



It was a bewildering decision. The settled and assured combination of Blind and Chris Smalling in central defence was sacrificed in order to play a rusty Rojo in the middle.

It meant United suddenly looked confused and porous at the back, whilst Blind failed to pass the Dutch 'pon the left-hand side with his one-paced jog. Shaw would have been able to hop faster.

Of course, Sod's Law meant Moreno cancelled out Memphis' opener despite having no right to be on the pitch, and of course PSV took the lead against a central defence that was playing like strangers.


Nevertheless, United piled on the pressure and looked to be wearing PSV down, with attack after attack. Martial and Memphis in particular looked like threatening, even if Mata was always one minute behind.


But on the 75th minute, Van Gaal brought on Fellaini and United's attacking impetus died a death. Whatever illness the Belgian was carrying, he certainly made the visiting support feel sick.

To compound matters, Antonio Valencia replaced Young with a few minutes to go. His cameo was so bad, it would only be right and proper if he were to donate his left leg to Shaw. One careful owner, hardly used.

The game ended 2-1 to the home side, a result somewhat overshadowed by Shaw's misfortune and Moreno's unpunished violence. The Mexican handicapped United - but he wasn't the only one.