Despite claiming the victory in the clash against Man United in the UEFA Europa League opener on Thursday, Real Sociedad left-back, Aihen Munoz, has admitted that it was tough playing against Manchester United winger Antony.
The Spanish team defeated Man United 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Europa League group stage match-day one fixture.
Brais Mendez scored the only goal of the match from the penalty spot for the Spanish LaLiga side.
However, Antony started his second game in a row against Real Sociedad after joining Manchester United from Ajax for £86 million.
While Antony scored on his debut in a Premier League 3-1 win over Arsenal, the Brazilian couldn’t have the same impact against Real Sociedad.
Speaking about Real Sociedad’s performance against the Premier League giants, Munoz said (via AS): “We were very brave, we were aggressive up front.”
When asked about playing against Antony, he added: “Covering these players is very difficult.”
What Next for Manchester United in the Europa League?
The Red Devils have four matches to come against Sheriff of Moldova and Omonia of Cyprus and should be in a strong position to qualify for the knockout phase before they face Sociedad in San Sebastian on November 3, so this was far from a critical result in their European campaign.
However, this defeat puts a dent in the momentum after 4 successive Premier League wins for the Erik ten Hag side.
More importantly, it will have underlined some things about his squad that he probably knew already: namely, that his strongest side is the one he’s settled on for top-flight duties.
Maguire performed capably here, but there’s no doubt Varane is the better player, certainly at the moment. Similarly, Martinez’s introduction off the bench gave the team a lift, and they really missed Dalot’s attacking runs after he went off. The experiment of Fred as a No.10 failed, and Casemiro doesn’t look up to speed, so the midfield axis of Christian Eriksen and McTominay is, for now, the way forward.
And then there’s Ronaldo. He had a goal disallowed; he missed a presentable opening; he ran well, battled well, and generally looked up for the fight in a competition he tried so hard to escape. And yet, there’s no doubt that United’s attack has looked slicker and more balanced without him in it in recent weeks. His role as a backup will likely continue for the time being.