Club Bruges – Europe, but not as we know it

United 3:1 Club Bruges

Line up: Romero, Darmian, Blind, Smalling, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Carrick, Mata, Januzaj, Memphis, Rooney

Subs: Schweinsteiger for Carrick, Chicharito for Januzaj, Fellaini for Rooney

TUESDAY night saw the return of European football to Old Trafford, we got the theme tune, the line up debates and a glorious night overall. Romero continued in goal, LVG seemingly resisting the temptation to play David De Gea, leaving him cuptied for any potential (and increasingly inevitable) switch to Real Madrid. That would have been evil but a bit funny.

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WHEN United played Barcelona a few years ago in the European Cup final at Wembley, there was an air of inevitability about the result before anyone kicked a ball in anger. Many a United supporter had the feeling we’d be destroyed by them and that was one thing, there was also the United fan who sounded almost grateful to be on the same pitch as them and that no matter how United did in the game, it was an honour just to be in the same stadium. How nice of Barcelona to delay collecting the trophy in order to have a kick around with us!

That did not sit well with me, although it was men against boys on the night and a lot of predictions came true, the fact that almost all of the United fans I spoke to had absolutely no belief in anything other than that we were just there to make up the numbers was hard to handle.

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Get Down and Get With It

GIVEN TO SCORE makes no apologies for joining the thousands of voices that proclaim tonight’s game with Real Madrid one of the most exciting encounters in our recent history, at least potentially. Given the epic build up on television, in print and in fan voice, there’s a chance that it could fail to deliver; but it’s a small chance so let’s just sit back and think of what is to come.

Ronaldo is good but he still shits and wipes his arse. He is still human.

The Manchester United team are saying all the right things, pointing out that we have waited for a night like this since the disastrous European adventure last year. The team let themselves down last year and in voice at least they seem determined to right that wrong. We have long memories, we know how last season’s European failure hurt and we can only hope it was felt by each man in red but further back than that was Munich, Milan, those hurt too.

I know it’s easy to analyse when you are safely behind a notebook. You can be proper brave with a pen in your hand and as I sit here looking out of my window at snow, Madrid feels like a zillion miles away but for those about to step out and attempt to do the business for Manchester United, there’s reasons to be positive.

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