Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek proved that he is worthy of a regular starting role after standing out during the second half of the Premier League defeat at Watford.
The Red Devils were widely fancied to beat the Hornets on Saturday afternoon, but they produced a poor showing that paved the way for an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at Vicarage Road.
David de Gea was kept active in goal once more. The Spaniard saved an early penalty from Ismaila Sarr.
The initial spot-kick was retaken due to encroachment, but the Spaniard denied Sarr again.
The 30-year-old continued to impress between the sticks, but the Hornets still scored twice before the half-time interval with poor defending ahead of him, not for the first time this season.
At the break, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to ring the changes with Anthony Martial and van de Beek replacing Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay.
While Martial was non-existent in the second half, Van de Beek made an instant impression, scoring in the 50th minute.
Cristiano Ronaldo put the ball on the plate for him to head home from close range.
That was his only shot on target, but the Dutchman impressed with his long-range distribution, creating three key passes.
He also won three duels while registering two tackles and one interception.
The 24-year-old played just 15 minutes of league football before yesterday, but he turned up with a solid performance that was noteworthy for the man of the match on any other day.
Solskjaer has shown a reluctance to play Van de Beek since his arrival, but the Norwegian handed a surprise second-half appearance for the playmaker with his managerial job on the line.
The £22.5 million-rated star has proved that he is worthy of a regular starting berth on the back of the recent performance, but it should be under a different head coach.
The club have suffered a staggering five defeats in seven league matches while their European displays have also not been up to the mark. Solskjaer is expected to be dismissed today.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com.
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