Luke Shaw enjoyed sticking it to those that continue to write off Manchester United with a stunning win away to Juventus.
A daunting double-header, with a Manchester derby on Sunday following the trip to Turin, looked set to start with disappointment for Jose Mourinho’s men on Wednesday, only for the visitors to produce a response that was nearly as remarkable as Cristiano Ronaldo’s breathtaking volley.
Juan Mata levelled with a superb free-kick which was followed by Juventus turning Ashley Young’s late set-piece into their own goal as United enjoyed another famous Champions League night in Turin.
The dramatic 2-1 victory provides a timely shot in the arm for Mourinho’s men, who have not only injected new life into their hopes of making the last 16 but provided the ideal platform on which to prepare for Sunday’s trip to bitter rivals City.
“I think tonight was a very special win, especially with going 1-0 down,” United full-back Shaw said.
“We all know how hard it can be coming here and, especially going down 1-0, it’s huge credit to the team for keeping on fighting and never giving up.
“I felt like we were going to get something out of the game even before the start of the game. Juan, with his free-kick, I felt it was going in as soon as he stepped over it and obviously Ashley with another great delivery at the end and it shows how much the team wanted it.
“We were fighting for the ball and luckily we got that bit of luck that it went in and I feel it’s deserved. We fought until the end.
“I think at times we had good possession of the ball, especially in the first half. We’ve had a poor first half recently, but I felt today was a bit better.
“It’s very good momentum now for us to go into (the Manchester derby).”
Sunday’s match at Pep Guardiola’s City is a chance to secure another memorable victory and quieten those that have been critical during United’s drab start to the campaign.
“I think tonight a lot of people will have written us off,” Shaw said.
“There’s always a lot of negative comments about us, but hopefully tonight they might say something positive for once because I think we deserve it – the team deserve it, the manager deserves it – for getting this amazing result.
Shaw thanked the raucous travelling fans for their unwavering support in Italy and hopes to give them more to celebrate at the Etihad Stadium.
“We knew Valencia had won before the game and we knew we needed to get something out of the game,” the England international added.
“I think you would have been happy with a point, especially with the way Juve are at home. It’s very big for us and the group is so tight at the moment.
“It’s a tough group and today winning was a very big step to hopefully gaining qualification, which is our main goal.”
Paul Pogba loved his winning return to former club Juventus and believes Manchester United will continue to flourish in the role of “outsider”.
Jose Mourinho’s men looked on course for defeat in Turin after former United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo struck a stunning volley for the hosts.
But the Red Devils, so often under the spotlight this season for the wrong reasons, rallied remarkably and secured a 2-1 comeback win in a Champions League clash that will live long in the memory.
Next up is Sunday’s derby clash at swashbuckling Manchester City and Pogba hopes United can upset the odds once again.
“It was great,” the France midfielder said.
“We know that (Juventus) is a big team and, to be honest, when they scored a goal, we had nothing to lose. We carried on, we pushed and we know that we can be dangerous on free-kicks because they defend very well (in open play).
“We played with that and we scored two goals like this.”
Asked if this was a turning point for United, who have faced a huge amount of criticism so far this season, Pogba told Viasport: “I think it’s always good to be the outsider, so people expect bad of us and then we surprise people. That’s it.
“The most important (thing) is the three points.”
It was an amazing end to a “lovely” night for Pogba, who was given a warm welcome back at a club he helped dominate Italian football between 2012 and 2016.
He said: “It made me feel at home as well, even if I play for Manchester United, they were very welcoming and I really appreciate that.
“The love that they showed me today was unbelievable and how great is football when you see that? When you play in this atmosphere, when you have those fans, it’s just lovely.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Alexis Sanchez is far down the list of Manchester United‘s heroes on a famous, if fortunate night in Turin. The Chilean was off the pitch when Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini helped change the game in his side’s favour – but there were nonetheless a few shoots of promise from his performance.
Deployed as a central striker in the absence of Romelu Lukaku – whether it’s through injury or a loss of form – Sanchez led the charge at Allianz Stadium.
Here’s a closer look at how he got on …
Goals – 0
Assists – 0
Shots – 1
Shots on target – 0
Touches – 31
Passes – 21
Pass accuracy – 90.5%
Dribbles – 1
Fouled – 2
Sharp runs – After several months of Lukaku doing his best impression of a statue, it has been refreshing to witness some movement from the tip of United’s spear. Juventus were clearly the dominant side yet the quick-twitch movement of Sanchez oh-so-nearly paid off for the visitors in the first half, as he was half a toe away from latching onto a superb Nemanja Matic ball after beating the Juventus line.
Passing in final third – There was one delicious combination with Paul Pogba in the second half that has been lacking from Sanchez’s repertoire ever since he made the move north from London. No real chance came from it, but his cunning flicks and prescient passing radar deep in opposition territory is exactly what United need if they are to dine at the top table again. The trouble was that, even though Sanchez had no trouble retaining the ball, apart from a flash of Pogba here or there was no one to riff off.
Set-pieces – As good as he was when the ball was pinging about near the area, Sanchez failed to inject any life into dead-ball situations. One free-kick in a promising position found a Juventus stomach, and he nearly went from corner flag to corner flag with a satellite-finder in the second half. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci usually gobble up set-pieces for fun – but with chances at a premium, he should at least have made them work. Just look what happened after he came off.
Very few people are going to be beating the drum for Sanchez off the back of this display, but on closer inspection he was quietly effective and gave United a dynamic in attack that they have been sorely lacking.
The 29-year-old has looked bereft when stationed on a flank, often scooting into the running lanes of his team-mates. But with a little more space to operate laterally, and drop off or make an arcing run when required, Sanchez is in a position to showcase his intelligence when played through the middle.
It’ll be interesting to see how long Lukaku is out – but Sanchez still needs a marquee performance to give the big Belgian something to worry about.
All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com