Brentford B 3 Man Utd U23 2: Five things we learned

Brentford B 3 Man Utd U23 2: Five things we learned

Nicky Butt the new man in charge!

Nicky Butt has taken over as Manchester United’ Under-23 interim manager after Warren Joyce has left for the manager’s job at Wigan Athletic.

Nicky Butt will be pleased with his new role but after his first match in charge he will not be relishing the work that needs to be done in order to implement his style.

He will come away pleased with the second half response.

Something was definitely said at half time, the tactics changed as well from a style that included a lot of small passes and slow but sure build up play into a style of very aggressive football.

Nicky Butt got it right in the second half and will take heart at the fact that if it weren’t for the Brentford goalkeeper Dominik Kurasik making some fantastic saves and the post coming to the aid of Brentford on a few occasions he may have walked away from this friendly with a point from a 3-0 position.

However it wasn’t to be so what next for the new interim as he tries to stake a claim at his beloved club.

A member of the glorious class of 1992 would surely love to raise his own group of kids to the same level of greatness.

Nicky Butt

Nicky Butt lost his first game in charge of the reserve side (Picture: Manchester Evening News)

Manchester United’s defensive woes

Nicky Butt definitely has his work cut out after that first half performance.

Too many times Manchester United was caught cold by a Brentford team that were on fire in the first half.

United did not adapt to the pressure that Brentford put them under.

Before the first goal even went in Brentford had stolen the ball twice and managed to penetrate in behind a frail looking defence.

So by the time Chris Mepham took a great shot and scores his magnificent goal from thirty yards out 11 minutes into the match it was looking like a very long game for United.

However it did not improve for Manchester United not until Matthew Willock finally left a mark on the Brentford defence, because for the next 20 minutes they were tormented by Brentford the goal only increased the desire for a second.

Throughout the first half United could not string more than two or three passes together.

A defence that concedes this many chances would have to ask the question if they are a long way off of those Premier League 2 titles that they have been collecting in the last four seasons.

An off day perhaps but Manchester United ought to be careful they are already seven points behind Manchester City this season in the PL2.

United struggled with Brentofrd's intensity (Picture: Brentford FC)

United struggled with Brentofrd’s intensity (Picture: Brentford FC)

Brentford look good

It takes two to tango and boy did Brentford show up to this dance and rock it.

In the first half an hour of the game it was hard to tell who the regulars of the PL2 were and who weren’t.

On FA cup first round day as well the timing was perfect as were the timings of the passes Brentford were scything through the United defence and one man up front was wreaking havoc.

His name was Herson Alves as soon as the ball reached his feet the rest were ready to run forward space was everywhere and Brentford managed to exploit it to devastating effect.

It was in fact Herson Alves who grabbed the second.

Reece Cole with so much space on the inside of the box with a delicate cross for Herson Alves who was left standing alone on the edge of the six yard line, free header and 2-0 Brentford.

The space afforded to them was scary. In fact Tom Field struck the post after reaching the box with so much time and space he will wonder how he did not score even from his tight angle and with the keeper bearing down on him.

Brentford celebrate in front of the home fans

Brentford celebrate in front of the home fans (Pic: Brentford FC)

Joe Riley and Sean Goss

The second half for United was a different story, they were strong and decisive and the traditional fighting spirit that seeps through the club’s genetics was on display once again.

Joe Riley was the maestro of the second half creating everything and forcing Brentford back.

It was his exquisite effort in the 63rd minute that got the comeback going, 3-0 down and out Joe Riley gets the ball on the edge of the box and curled it into the top corner leaving no chance for Kurasik who up until then was making fine save after fine save.

Sean Goss was the enforcer there was very little getting past him in the second half and it was he who scored the second in the 70th minute with a great long range strike once again Kurasik was left stranded.

United had 20 minutes to find an equaliser and they came agonisingly close on many occasions.

Joe Riley himself could not steer it in from three yards out as it went past the post but on the wrong side.

Suffices to say that these two have a future at Manchester United and if it were not for the flamboyant performance of Kurasik it could have been a different story.

Sean Goss in training

Sean Goss has recently returned from a long-term injury

Chris Mepham the Man of the Match

Chris Mepham was the game winner for Brentford today, literally.

He scored a third for Brentford against the run of play as United were finally getting into their stride.

It was a routine corner to the back of the box headered down neatly to a free Mepham who took one touch, in the middle of the box, and rifled it into the back of the net uncontested byt the United defence.

59 minutes gone and Brentford were in dreamland and they can thank Mepham, who by now is probably celebrating one of the best birthdays he has ever had, because without him the game would have been different.

If Herson Alves was the target man Mepham was the linchpin in the first half every ball was coming through him before getting to Alves and both connected well throughout the first half.

His great vision also allowed the likes of Ilias Chatzitheodoridis and Reece Cole to create space on the wings and to break in behind this frail United defence.

Mepham had the game under control for Brentford in the first half and the fact that he bagged a brace makes him the deserved winner of the man of the match award.

About James Shaw

To say that he lives and breathes for football is an understatement. he was kicking the ball from the age of 2, watching it on tv from the age of 3 and going to matches from the age of 4. His dad being a Manc he is a massive Manchester City fan and he used to go nearly every weekend being formerly a season ticket holder. His mum being French and from the Alps he is also a massive Lyon fan. However he loves all sorts of football from the lower leagues to the top leagues. His love of football is what makes him write about it.

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