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Man Utd 1-0 Lille

Due to a family dinner I had accepted that I would have to miss the Lille game. Yet at the last minute I jumped on a train to Manchester and hoped that I wouldn’t suffer the consequences too much. Unfortunately for me the only serious repercussion of going was having to sit through the worst performance I’ve seen United put on at home for a very long time. If it had not been for Beckham’s stoppage time winner I would certainly have preferred to get my teeth into my aunt’s cooking than watch the game.

United put out a full strength team and without being too confident I expected a fairly comfortable victory. Lille were a much better team that I had contemplated, and it should be noted had knocked out Parma to qualify for the group. They held up the ball well and made some promising attacks, but they were still a side that United should not be worried about.

For the reds it just seemed to be one of those days where nothing quite worked. The players worked hard but it seemed every fifty-fifty ball fell to Lille player, and all the nifty touched did succeed. Surprisingly, after his excellent performance at Newcastle Veron looked under par, and with one exception Giggsy was dispossessed ever time he got the ball. My mind started to cast back to the home game against Zagreb a few years ago which similarly ended 0-0, and as the crowd headed to the exits I realised the goal just was not going to come.

Just as I accepted we were not going to score up popped Becks and we had won the game. Suddenly on reflection certain players HAD played well, notably Wes Brown, and we had kept our first clean sheet. Yet despite the scoreline any red who witnessed the game will admit that Lille were unlucky to walk away empty handed.

On the journey home I sat on the train with a Stockport fan on his way home having just seen his team lose 2-1 at home to Sheffield United. However much I complain about our poor performance it’s reassuring to know that it is only because we have come to expect so much in recent years. Ed the Stockport fan will probably never see his team play Juventus, Bayern, Inter Milan and some of the other names that we have beaten in recent years. None of us can be sure of what lies ahead, so make the most of the present. Look every Scouser in the eyes and think ‘Champions’, look at every Leeds fan gloating about their European run last year and think ‘Treble’, look at every other fan in the country and laugh out loud. United, loyal and proud.

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