Compared to previous encounters against the top six which often left fans asking the question of ‘what if’, on this occasion, no questions could be asked.
In a short piece I wrote prior to the cup tie, I made the suggestion that this was a game to leave the shackle offs and play with a complete and utter freedom. They did exactly that.
On this occasion, David Wagner’s side played with the right attitude but did not have the application to capitalise in the periods they were on top.
When the news broke of David Wagner’s team selection, the intent was there to play with a positivity and freedom. This hasn’t been the case against other top six sides and Town did not disappoint.
Even after falling behind from Manchester United’s first proper foray into the Town half, the confidence and bravery did not falter.
Instead, personified by an impressive midfield duo of Philip Billing and Danny Williams, out of possession there was an aggressive intensity to Town.
The aggressive press allowed Town to turn over possession high up the field and play in areas of the pitch which could hurt Manchester United.
Also, noticeably in possession, there was a concerted effort to be positive.
Rather than maintaining possession and recycling in Town’s own final third, the direct and precise nature of the passing in that first half allowed Town to pin Manchester United into their own final third.
Considering the quality of the opposition, Town’s attitude and ability to impose themselves on the game is testament to the confidence and belief within this Town squad.
Whilst Manchester United’s quality did eventually shine through, Town should take confidence from how far they pushed Manchester United.
In the second half, the tempo and intensity dipped when fatigue started to play its part.
However, the attitude that was on show by Town, particularly in the first half, should be the attitude taken from now until the end of the season, especially at home.
If that is the case, then there are plenty of positives that can and should be taken from this commendable effort.