CFR Cluj vs. Manchester United: 6 Things We Learned Tonight

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CFR Cluj vs. Manchester United: 6 Things We Learned Tonight
Julian Finney/Getty Images

As promised by Sir Alex Ferguson this season, Manchester United played a very attacking formation against Cluj.

With Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs left at home with illness and Paul Scholes only playing one match a week, the manager dropped Nani and put out a team of "wingless wonders."

Predictably, Kagawa was rested. He did nothing wrong on Saturday, but he could be key against Newcastle. Anderson and Tom Cleverley, who did so well against Newcastle last week, not surprisingly started alongside the invaluable Darren Fletcher.

Full Team (4-3-1-2)

De Gea

Rafael Ferdinand Evans Evra

Anderson Fletcher Cleverley

Rooney

Van Persie Hernandez

 

Substitutes

Lindegaard Buttner Wootton Powell Nani Kagawa Welbeck

So, none of the young players who traveled were included, except Scott Wootton, who, having been a substitute on Saturday also, seems to be edging Michael Keane. He came on as a substitute for the last 20 minutes.

For the first time in years, United started without a single winger. However, the formation offered the possibility of Rooney dropping into midfield to make it 4-4-2.

It also meant that Ferguson could have brought on Nani if needed in the second half to stretch the Cluj defence.

Whether it was out of respect for "the greatest team ever to come to Cluj" or because they prefer a counter-attacking style, the home team defended very deep.

United were patient and tried to tempt the opposition defence to step up, leaving room for Hernandez. But it was disciplined and when, after 13 minutes, a United attack broke down, Cluj exposed United's defensive fragility yet again.

For the sixth time this season, they conceded first. This is a shocking state of affairs.

Nevertheless, you always had that reassuring feeling that United would roll Cluj over. And so it proved.

First, Rooney hit a free kick that Van Persie "shouldered" into the net. Then, in the second half, Rooney hit a sublime pass into the Dutchman's path to flick home.

With the Roumanians visibly wilting and apart from a couple of scares that De Gea dealt with, that was that.

There were a number of talking points, however.

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