This time, there weren’t a bucket-load of goals and the match actually ended 0-0 but I think it’s fair to say that we created the better chances and, overall, deserved to win the match on penalties.
Yes, in this “mini-tournament” we’re in, if the match ends a draw then it goes straight to penalties. The winner of the shootout then receives 2 points and the loser gets 1 points which, incidentally, I think is a great little idea but anyway…
It was hard not to watch this penalty shoot-out and not be reminded of our last penalty shoot-out which was in the Capital One Cup semi-final against Sunderland in January of this year.
You will remember that we put in one of the worst series of penalties in the history of the game as we scored just one of our five penalties. To make matters worse, Sunderland’s own series wasn’t much better as they scored just two of their own.
To this day, I don’t know whether it was just a symptom of our general lack of confidence under Moyes or whether the players deliberately did all they could to NOT win anything for Moyes or whether it was because we didn’t fancy City in the Final.
The contrast in this match against Inter was striking as we scored all five penalties and every penalty we took was an unsaveable cracker.
The confidence is flowing again and there can be no question that this squad wants to impress the new manager.
Our next match should provide a real test, though (no pun intended) as we play Real Madrid on Saturday night.
I’ve done it again, though, and I go away on holiday on Saturday night so I’m going to miss it but I’ll be looking out for the score and it really wouldn’t surprise me if we were to win that one, too – I doubt I’d have been saying that in January of this year…
What was also striking about this match was Van Gaal’s reaction to an incident where Tom Cleverly seemed to have been denied a pretty clear-cut penalty.
A few months ago, the cameras would have panned to a manager slumped in his seat, possibly getting up to do his best “moany face” to the fourth official… not Van Gaal.
Van Gaal was tearing a strip off the fourth official and I had to remind myself that this was just a largely meaningless friendly – what he’ll be like if we have a penalty decision go against us in a “proper” match is anyone’s guess but the referees should probably go kitted out in Kevlar.
It was great to see the passion, though and reminded us all once again of just one more thing we’ve been missing at United for the last twelve months.