The top stats after our win over Copenhagen
Manchester United’s 1-0 extra-time victory over FC Copenhagen on Monday night sealed a place in the Europa League semi-finals, but the good news didn’t stop there.
Check out some of the outstanding stats that emerged from the match below, as we start to look forward to Sunday’s semi-final…
Ole wasn’t known for his defensive attributes as a player, but his team are showing some encouraging signs in that regard. The clean sheet against FCK was our eighth in the Europa League this season (from 11 games). No manager that has taken charge of more than 10 games in the competition has a better shutout percentage than the Norwegian. It was also our 18th clean sheet of the calendar year.
JOINING AN ELITE CLUBOle has also joined a select band of United managers to have reached a European semi-final. Just four other Reds bosses have done so: Sir Matt Busby, Ron Atkinson, Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho. Not bad company to be keeping, eh?
The Bruno Fernandes penalty that confirmed our place in the last four was, incredibly, our 21st of the season. No other side within the top five leagues in Europe has won more. Some might say that’s a tad lucky, but we’d say they’re wrong. Get yourself in the box as much as possible, and you’re likely to draw more fouls in the business area of the pitch.
We mentioned that Bruno was ultimately responsible for our progression to the next stage, but the Portuguese would admit it wasn’t his finest performance. Nevertheless, he yet again proved the difference – as he has done so often since joining from Sporting Lisbon in January. Since the start of the 2017/18 Europa League season, the playmaker has been involved in 21 goals in the competition (13 goals, eight assists). No other player can better that. There’s more: since joining United, our no.18 has 11 goals and eight assists in all competitions from just 21 appearances. Bem Feito! That’s ‘well done’ in Portuguese, in case you don’t have access to Google Translate, like us.
Despite United’s clear attacking threat, it was a frustrating night for our front four in Cologne. We’ve hit the post or crossbar eight times in the Europa League this season, according to the BBC. That’s more than any other team.
Captured in CologneGallery
These are the must-see photos from United's Europa League quarter-final win over FC Copenhagen.
SOLSKJAER MAKING STRIDES
But despite the missed chances, and the need for extra-time, this was a hugely positive night for Manchester United. It means that, after finishing third in the Premier League – our second-best finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired – we’ve now reached the semi-final stage of all three cup competitions entered during 2019/20. That’s only the second time the club has achieved such a feat – the other time being 2008/09, when we claimed a third consecutive league title and reached a second successive Champions League final. We’re a way off those lofty standards yet, but Solskjaer’s side are starting to find some of the consistency that Rooney, Ronaldo and co showed in that golden era.
A big part of that increased consistency is the output of United’s forwards, who have been led in expert fashion this season by centre-forward Anthony Martial. The Frenchman was named Man of the Match and sprung to life as the game wore on. His efforts on goal were frustrated, but he did win the penalty that decided the match, and produced opportunities and danger whenever he came near the ball. According to Statman Dave, he completed all of his passes, delivered five successful take-ons and created three chances. United legend Paul Scholes was effusive in his praise, post-match: “When he squares a player up and gets to run at him, I think he's unstoppable.”