Owen Hargreaves names ‘best player on the pitch’ as Manchester United thump Real Betis in Europa League

Owen Hargreaves was impressed by Manchester United’s emphatic win (Picture: BT Sport)

Owen Hargreaves was impressed by Manchester United’s emphatic Europa League win over Real Betis and identified the ‘best player on the pitch’ at Old Trafford.

United have one foot in the quarter-finals of the Europa League after thumping Spanish side Betis 4-1 at the Theatre of Dreams in a one-sided first leg.

Marcus Rashford put the hosts ahead after just six minutes but Real Betis equalised before half-time through former Newcastle United and Leicester City star Ayoze Perez.

It appeared to be a competitive encounter at that stage but United turned up the heat in the second half and scored two goals in six minutes through Antony and Bruno Fernandes before Wout Weghorst added a fourth late on.

Hargreaves said it was important for Manchester United to bounce back following last weekend’s 7-0 defeat to Liverpool and called Fernandes the ‘best player on the pitch’.

Fernandes has been the subject of much criticism following the Anfield capitulation but scored and assisted in United’s Europa League win.

‘There was a spell where he was unplayable, every little touch was perfect,’ Hargreaves said of Fernandes on BT Sport. ‘Honestly, he was brilliant, the best player on the pitch.’

United have one foot in the Europa League quarter-finals (Picture: Getty)

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes added: ‘Bruno was brilliant today in that central midfield role.

‘He controlled the game. I thought he was sensational. That’s what you expect from a Manchester United midfielder and captain.

‘It was loads better from United. Obviously the quality of opposition wasn’t quite Liverpool but they’ve shown great character tonight.

‘They had that little sticky spell just before half-time but I thought they were fantastic in the second half.’

Erik ten Hag, meanwhile, hailed his team’s ‘positive reaction’ at Old Trafford, four days after a demoralising and record-breaking defeat to Liverpool.

‘I think we played a very good game in both halves,’ the Manchester United boss said. ‘At half-time we should have been up 3-0 but we make one mistake it is 1-1.

“We can reset and we can bounce back… this team has character!”

“Bruno, I think he was brilliant today!” 💪

An overjoyed Erik ten Hag breaks down a much-improved performance from Man Utd during their 4-1 first-leg win over Real Betis 🔎

🎙️ @DannyJamieson pic.twitter.com/1JpNR5aZ5p

— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 9, 2023

‘We scored some good goals, we gave the fans something to support and they gave it back so we are very grateful.

‘It was a great attitude, we were good on the ball, made good switches and runs in behind and created a lot of chances.

‘It is always good to see how the team reacts after a set-back. This is not the first time this season we can reset and bounce back. This team has character, so big compliment to the team.’

MORE : Bruno Fernandes challenge labelled ‘stupid’ by Man Utd legend Paul Scholes

MORE : Paul Scholes reveals Bruno Fernandes ‘worry’ at Manchester United

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