The tepid first leg at Old Trafford might have been an anti-climax but Manchester United’s fresh-faced midfielder Scott McTominay has come in for heaps of praise for his mature display. Ex-United manager Jose Mourinho has chipped in with a few words of appreciation.
Speaking to RT Sport, Mourinho was mighty impressed by the young Scot’s gritty display against Barcelona. Referring to him as a ‘mad dog’, the former United boss spoke at length on the qualities that shone through his performance:
“Barcelona was not Barcelona yesterday, I think United had one player that was responsible for that because I think Scott McTominay in midfield he was like what I used to call – but when I use this expression it’s obviously in the total positive sense of the word. He was a mad dog.
“Afraid of nobody. Imposing his respect. Pressing really hard with a huge range of movement a huge area of pressing. Pressing higher and creating problems in Barcelona building up then really aggressive on the duels.”
The match itself was rather half-paced with Manchester United choosing to survive rather than thrive on home comforts. Barcelona, on the other hand, were quite subdued; controlling the game but not quite seeking out the killer blow.
Solsjkaer chose to go with a 4-3-2-1, looking to squeeze the very spaces Messi operates in. Crucial to its partial success was McTominay’s unwavering aggression and ability to press hard and high up the pitch.
While there was little of note by way of goalmouth action, McTominay’s display offered a rare bright spark on an otherwise dour European evening. A start at Camp Nou followed by a display of similar quality and United have a star in the making.