Manchester United took a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday at Old Trafford after goals in the second half by Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata.
WBA came to Old Trafford and “parked the bus,” playing with all but one player behind the ball. The visitors were clearly playing for a point, or to get lucky on a counter attack. After a scoreless first half, Jesse Lingard broke the deadlock in the 52 minute with a well-placed shot. Lingard, 22, got the chance from start and made a good impression. Mata finished up the scoring late in the game from the penalty spot after Gareth McAuley had brought down Anthony Martial inside the penalty area.
Manager Louis van Gaal was pleased to get a win over such a defensive-minded WBA.
“I expected this line up [from West Brom] with the holding midfielder,” van Gaal told manutd.com after the game. “They played with 10 men behind the ball and sometimes the striker was also defending, so I think we’ve done very well. I said at halftime that we had to continue and be patient, because the goal was coming.
“Every manager has the right to choose his strategy and we have to organise ourselves against that. We could have played the ball more quickly in the first half; in the second half I believe we did better, until the first goal, after which we forgot to continue to play football, Nevertheless, that changed the game.
“Goals are always the most important thing in a game but we’re still not giving many chances away, only Berahino’s header. We have won a difficult game that we lost last year. Because of that, [West Brom manager] Tony Pulis chose this strategy but now we have won and improved again.”