It felt like a lifetime since the tournament players teased their Europa League opponents with “Thursday Nights, Channel 5”, but with no soul. European League Bear.
Manchester United They are in a competition that they do not want to participate in and if they are eliminated by AC Milan, it is quite possible to implement a positive turnover. Not if you are Dean Henderson.
“Let’s go,” Henderson shouted before kick-off against Real Sociedad at Old Trafford. United were already 4-0 up on aggregate, the rotation was rife and if there was a crowd in attendance, the schoolchildren would overtake the regular match-goers with the countdown.
However, Henderson’s focus was intentional and he could claim some poor credit for his outclassing Mikel Oyarzabal when he fired a penalty towards Stretford End host. Henderson picked up another clean sheet reward.
Sergio Romero is still present at United to remind Henderson just how fulfilling Thursday nights are. Traditionally, the Europa League has been assigned to United’s second goalkeeper, but Henderson may not be on his duty midweek after March international matches.
Henderson, who turned 24 last week, expects to maintain his place with Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday. Not only had Henderson played in the previous rounds, he was also asked to prepare to start six matches in a row and Leicester would be sixth. He’s in the mindset of extending that beyond half a dozen games.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s denial was far from the front with the exception of Henderson’s career, but it was the most important; A similar pause to Simon Kier’s header in the first leg, at close range, highlighted by Ibrahimovic’s presence.
“It’s a method he should have saved last week,” said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “Very similar. Very happy with him of course. Great tackle.”
What was even more impressive than Henderson’s relatively routine stoppage was his dash from his area to sweep Ibrahimoviش in the 71st minute. In extra time, a raised cross entered the United area and Henderson was so high that he might have made the chimes chime at Duomo di Milano while collecting the ball.
One of the criticisms leveled against David de Gea in recent years is that he is reluctant to leave the goal line. It’s a proactive skill that the Giant Romero and Henderson specialize in is a more engaged Ranger.
This can sometimes cause panic among advocates. Fabian Barthez gave Gary Neville cats with his wanderlust, and despite all of Ederson’s wired advantages, his poor handling style contributed to Manchester City’s exit from the Champions League in the past two seasons.
Henderson seemed more eager to design a normal rescue than the actual basics of goalkeeping when Kiar reached out in the 91st minute at Old Trafford last week. In a split second, a flawless night was undone and Henderson was wrong.
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However, it got more than some complacency. At Crystal Palace and City, Henderson was turned on to prevent Patrick Van Anholt from scoring late in the match, and his throw knocked the wheels off Luke Show’s kick four days later. This attacking thinking from goalkeeper to full-back was reminiscent of Peter Schmeichel and Dennis Irwin.
Henderson is as loud as Schmeichel and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who England coach Gareth Southgate overlooked for this month’s squad, and will at least sidestep his team-mate for two weeks. “Azza” is a corner signal for Manchester United, with Henderson insisting on the retreat of Wan-Bisaka to avoid a repeat of Dima Ba’s separatist goal in Istanbul.
Including the second half in his Premier League debut with United, Henderson scored 12 clean sheets in 18 and has the distinction of being the only United goalkeeper in history to have been shut down in Milan and City.
His promotion instead of De Gea coincided with Victor Lindelof’s best spell for two years and leveled up Harry Maguire’s performance. Lindelof, who is usually intimidated by physical attackers, no longer looks flustered and fans no longer fret Eric Bailey to be a partner to Maguire.
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United have kept 13 clean sheets in the last 22 games, enough to open a laundry room, and the summer priority has shifted from center back to center attack. “Victor and Harry, I thought they played well last season as well,” Solskjaer added. “We had a lot of clean sheets last season.
“Victor and Harry got on well with each other and they benefited from last season. Then again, we have another defense here to play when they get the chance.”
“We are used to speculation and every goal you concede at Man United will be scrutinized. That’s what it is.”
“I know these boys are mentally stronger to deal with these things, we are working on things. When you face a setback like we did against Milan in the last minute, we had a big problem … not a disagreement, but a little encounter, I saw in front of West Ham and I saw Tonight there was no chance we would let any targets enter.
“They are proud defenders and although they can play football and play from behind and all this, when you see defenders they want to stand up for the things that please you.”
Those who know Henderson insist he is his biggest critic and say he’s bent on improving after his impressive performance at City. Kjaer’s neglect was prevented by successive clean sheets, and Henderson had passed his lengthy test to become United’s new No.1.
Thursday nights helped.