The Sunday Mail
The Erik ten Hag revolution has given Manchester United hope, and it will be days like their 2-1 win over Manchester City yesterday that the club need many more of if they are to know that the old kings of English football are truly on their way back.
This derby victory was greeted with a great visceral Old Trafford roar.
It was a scrappy, opportunistic raid of a win on the champions who, after an hour, were one goal up and in control.
Yet this Pep Guardiola side feels a few notches off their best and Ten Hag’s players never gave up, winning this game with a Marcus Rashford goal when City’s defence let them in.
Ten Hag has few options from the bench and even at home they hardly dominated the ball, but United came through.
Jack Grealish, a second-half substitute, had given City the lead when Kevin De Bruyne escaped Casemiro and crossed for the far post and that might earlier have prefaced a United collapse.
It is little more than three months since they went down 6-3 to the neighbours in east Manchester, and Ten Hag called them in the next day to run the distances they had failed to do in the game.
City had most of the ball and United had the counter-attack plan.
In the first half that was most often a diagonal hit from Bruno Fernandes on the right to the runner trying to make an angle on the left and that was most often Rashford. It was Fernandes’ pass into the inside-left channel that got Rashford going on 34 minutes, and past Ederson who had unwisely decided he could beat the United man to the ball.
Rashford pulled up in the first half and looked like he may depart at half-time, but it was Antony Martial whom Ten Hag replaced with Antony.
Ten Hag had picked Luke Shaw again as the left-sided centre-back, which meant that there were three orthodox centre-halves on the bench.
United had to stand firm amid a strong early period of City possession but it was 0-0 at half-time.
At the corresponding fixture in October, United were four down at that point.
They looked like they might be blown away in the early stages of the second half when City squeezed United back.
For 15 minutes, the old gulf between the two sides was evident.
City were on the ball deep in the home side’s half and they were relentless.
The line finally broke when De Bruyne got the ball back from Riyad Mahrez in the inside-right channel and held off Casemiro masterfully. The Belgian took it on the outside of his right boot and eased towards the goal-line, with Casemiro trying unsuccessfully to throw him off balance, and chipped to the back post for Grealish.
He had only been on the pitch three minutes, and it was a relatively simple header.
There was the challenge for United: a decent performance and yet with 30 minutes left they were one goal down at home.
Ten minutes later and Rashford was flapping his arms at a misplaced pass and it felt like United had run up against their limits.
Ten Hag sent on Alejandro Garnacho for Eriksen who had been quiet.
The goal, when it came, was from a Casemiro ball.
The assistant Darren Cann allowed Fernandes to finish the move before raising his flag.
The assistant thought the pass had been touched by Rashford – who was clearly offside when the ball was played – but Fernandes went straight over to him to tell him there had been no touch.
Cann told the referee Stuart Attwell, and the ground erupted in celebration
This was United’s chance.
City had been below their standards and when Garnacho got the ball on the left, three minutes later, and he was given two opportunities to cross.
The second of which was tucked in by Rashford for the big win. — Telegraph