Erik ten Hag’s strides of glory echoed across Old Trafford as Manchester United triumphed against Barcelona with an emphatic 2-1 win on Thursday.
The Red Devils did little wrong to end the tie 4-3 on aggregate, particularly in the second-half, despite being awarded the setback of a soft penalty given to Barcelona in the opening minutes, which Robert Lewandowski netted into the back of the net.
Thereon, United relied on the tactical prowess of the manager and smart changes for Fred and Antony to find the back of the net in an almost arrogant display of pure power and passion in front of the Stretford End.
Supporters across the globe rejoiced at this win, with the Twitter reactions indicating that ten Hag has already stamped his legacy at the club despite his first season not yet over.
Barcelona have conceded 7 goals all season in league.
They conceded 4 vs. Manchester United in 180 minutes.
— BlameFootball (@blamefootball) February 23, 2023
It feels weird seeing Man United with a proper manager, plans, identity and a buy in from the fans. It's been 10 years.
— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawTel) February 23, 2023
Tonight felt like a culmination of signs we've seen all season in La Liga.
Barcelona unable to finish off or control matches, often overwhelmed in the 2nd half.
Unlike in Spain, unfortunately, their opponents were able to finish their chances.
— Michael (@LaLigaMichael) February 23, 2023
Reality does dictate that this wasn’t the best of Barca sides and that the home team did succumb to several errors and a few letdowns. Marcus Rashford was silent for much of the game and United did appear to lose the ball a bit too carelessly in the first-half.
But the second-half was peak footballing creativity with Garnacho and Antony stamping their authority on the flanks much like the United forwards of the yesteryears.
The two Brazilians on the scoresheet definitely won much praise from the supporters but it was Antony, back from injury, who had a point to prove with his composed finish- perhaps showing his critics a sign of the things to come.
Looking forward, an arduous Europa League campaign still remains for the Premier League side, who are also looking to shake things up in their domestic league.
However, it cannot be denied that this is the precise sort of energy and momentum that their gaffer would have hoped to garner ahead of the weekend when they could lift their first piece of silverware in six years.