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Nemanja Matic gave us a reminder of why great teams need a water carrier | Liam Rosenior

The value of a reliable, unfussy midfield shield can be easily overlooked in an era of statistics and analysis but even the most expansive and exciting teams need a Kanté, a Busquets or a Makélélé

One man doesn’t make a team but one player can make the difference, which is what I witnessed as we put in a fine though fruitless performance at Old Trafford last weekend. Although the winning goalscorer, Ashley Young, got the praise and adulation he deserved for his role, there was one man completely unmentioned and unappreciated who thwarted our dangerous counterattacks time and again.

He didn’t have the pace or skill of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku or Anthony Martial but there wasn’t a moment in the match when he was out of position, thwarting our attacks at source while also starting United forays with short, simple, incisive passes and allowing his team-mates the freedom to express themselves in the final third of the pitch. He was key to enabling his side to earn three crucial points and in turn keep in touch with the league leaders, Manchester City.

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