A sign of the times

It was interesting to see which players stuck around to sign autographs after the final whistle against Newcastle. First out was Luke Shaw who mingled with the fans for a while, as did Morgan Schneiderlein.

Juan Mata was the epitome of class. He worked his way from one end of the throng to the other signing shirts and programs and posing with photographs for anyone who asked.

“You’re welcome” he said when people thanked him. Javier Hernandez was with him and also worked he entire line. Sergio Romero, a keeper with questions over him despite three clean sheets in four appearances, also signed as many autographs as he could, despite having his young daughters running around being a handful.

Juan Mata with a very handsome fan

David de Gea signed a lot of autographs too, which was a nice touch considering his position at the moment must be one of the more uncomfortable in the dressing room. The guys stood behind me said he made a gesture before he went around the corner but I didn’t see it.

Daley Blind gave a couple of waves and strode purposefully towards his car. So did Memphis Depay. An interesting contrast between our Dutch players and the Spanish speakers. Bear in mind though, Louis always stops for the fans. Always.

Sergio Romero

Giggsie had his Range Rover backed up to the stadium but still popped out to say hello and absorb the adulation that must be run of the mill for him. His drive was expected to be a short one. According to Barney at Red News, he tends to run over to Hotel Football to do hospitality there rather than at United.

The team will not rest easy tonight knowing they could have won. In the first twenty minutes the Newcastle goal was blitzed and it was only the performance of Tim Krul between the sticks who kept the Reds at bay.

Whilst it is frustrating to drop two points in such a fashion, there are signs that many facets of the team are functioning well. Again, both full backs were excellent and Luke Shaw carries a tremendous attacking threat when he gallops into the opposition half.

Darmian, along with about nine of his teammates, was guilty of splotching the final ball on a few occasions, but he deserves credit for getting into the positions he does. In between them, Chris Smalling is in danger of turning into a top-class centre half.

Wayne Rooney will attract his usual levels of ire. An argument I heard today was that he earns too much to play this poorly. True, but you could have said the same thing about Falcao, Di Maria and Van Persie every week last year.

It would be nice if the captain found a bit of form though. Three games at centre forward without scoring is certainly enough to ask the question. It seems obvious to me that he has a level of class and vision above that of any of his colleagues, people will continue to vent their frustration his way regardless it seems.

It would be cause for concern if United were drawing nil nil every week, but there were enough signs against Brugge that the team and the plan is taking shape. Patience and persistence are a big part of success in any arena, that is what the Reds need now.

There is a tendency to think that a new signing would solve all of the problems quickly. After United’s experiences in the transfer market last year, we know that isn’t the case. It is facile to say Pedro could have made the difference today, we will never know.

Mata and Chicharito signed for every fan they could

There was a mild smattering of discontent, possibly booing, at the end. This seemed to be borne of the perception that United have started to play the ball sideways a touch too often, and in particular as the clock ran down.

The fans here want the kitchen sink, the rubber gloves and the wooden leg thrown at the opposition goal as matches peter out. United did that today but without success. The success does look like it is coming, it will require more goals though

In the meantime it is a matter of faith.

Follow Mark on www.twitter.com/markjpayne


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