I said last week that few people would be surprised if United won both games against Premier League opposition.
The surprise on Tuesday was the relative comfort of the victory. ‘They’re not as good as Rochdale,’ I said after about 20 minutes, and so it proved.
The stats show that Southampton had far more possession, yet United had lots more shots. As we have seen in many league games this season that United have dominated, if you don’t turn possession into chances you find it hard to win.
Southampton supporters claimed that their recent bad run was partly down to the absence of Morgan Schneiderlin, but his return made no difference. In fact, Louis Reed was the more effective player. Reed has calmness and assurance beyond his years, and despite his size is not physically intimidated. He could play in our midfield for many years to come, unless we sell him first.
When 17-year-old Reed went off to be replaced by 18-year-old Kieran Wallace, my mate Shaun said: ‘We needed a bit more experience on the pitch.’ So we had two players who were playing for Ilkeston a month ago up against full internationals, and the difference in class was not obvious. Tottenham? Nowt to come.
In last Friday’s Star James Shield pointed out that United had gone 706 consecutive matches with a home-grown player in the matchday squad. Ironically, the following day at Fleetwood, with Louis Reed injured, that run came to an end. The presence of Kieran Wallace was somewhat of a compensation.
So was seeing Diego’s fourth goal for York City, when his nifty footwork bamboozled two defenders before he crashed the ball into the far top corner. We look forward to the day when he is doing that kind of thing for the Blades.