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The clouds were grey and there wasnt a sign of sunshine anywhere. Two Spanish players kicked the ball between each other as cameras ran around them looking for the perfect shot. The weather had given it away. It was clearly the north of England, but the skill on show on the pitch came from elsewhere. Juan Mata struck the ball hard off the bar and that was Ander Herreras cue to turn around, rifle the ball in the net and send a stern message to the camera. a€?Have you got the instinct? It was a message created up by the brain trust behind the latest Adidas campaign, but it is a test his new team has to pass if they want to progress. The two Manchester United players represent a new era at Old Trafford, despite them not being directly linked with Louis van Gaal. Gaalaticos, these are not. Mata was a David Moyes signing and Herrera was pursued by Moyes and the clubs chief executive, Ed Woodward, as early as the summer of 2013, yet only became a United player once the club finally caved and agreed to pay the 36 million Euro out clause to Athletic Bilbao for the midfielder. Herrera admitted he hadnt spoken to his new manager before he signed, but, then again, van Gaal was making his way to Fortaleza at the time for a last-16 tilt with Mexico for the Netherlands when the Spaniard finally put pen to paper at Old Trafford. It would be unfair on Herrera, though, to presume his face did not fit with van Gaals philosophy. The Dutch boss had been named the next manager at Old Trafford well before the final successful bid had been submitted to San Mames and it was clear, no matter who the manager was, that Herrera was a player United needed. It can take some time for overseas players to adapt to the Premier League, but last weekend the 25-year-old Spaniard looked like he had been playing in England all his life. Herrera was magnificent against QPR, operating on the right side of a midfield diamond, but receiving an incredible 87 passes all over the field. Highlighting his exceptional movement, both his full-backs, Rafael and Marcos Rojo, finished in the top three of players who completed passes to him. It was only QPR Four small words that have been thrown in the face of Manchester United fans all week. For the first time in 25 years, the club are not playing in a European competition this season, so they have more time than usual to digest domestic successes from the past weekend. It may have only been QPR, but Sundays hammering of the London club by van Gaals men showed they had the instinct, demonstrating a desire to push forward regularly with a speed from midfield that was lacking under Moyes. The game was over as a contest by half-time and, finally, their fans saw strong signs of progression away from the Moyes era. Such a low bar may have been set after the disastrous campaign of last season, yet it is important United break stride away from that period as quickly as possible. Before QPR, against Swansea and Burnley for example, questions remained. There are different ways to measure progress. Clearly, the easiest way to do this is by looking at the result and the 4-0 thumping over QPR meant van Gaal accomplished something, in his second home league game, that Moyes never did by winning a Premier League match at Old Trafford by four goals. United only won one game at home by four goals last season, coming in April under caretaker boss Ryan Giggs. It is also easy to look at a man-of-the-match performance from Angel Di Maria and see that United are finally trending in the right direction. Indeed, the former Real Madrid man was sensational on his home debut. The Argentine winger received a lot of praise for his performance, where he operated on the left side of the diamond, that was the reason for much of Uniteds success. Di Maria is a modern day footballer who brings speed, creativity and intelligence to pivotal positions on the field, starting counterattacks, igniting transitions and sending precise final balls into the penalty box for a striker to finish off. He is a player United should have had for some time, bought at a high-end cost that the club have avoided for far too long. The same can be said for the loan capture of Radamel Falcao, harshly criticized in the English media as a unnecessary luxury based on the issues in defence, but what both bring is a high level of talent and intelligence sadly lacking at Old Trafford for some time. They arrive at the gates of Old Trafford already as genuine world class players and, although this has been reported as a change of identity for the club, it was one that was needed. Falcao and Di Maria will be stars for United this season, helping shape an identity away from what they had become under Moyes where the team was, simply, far too predictable, far too direct and far too English. Midfield General The addition of Herrera is equally important as they move away from that direction. No matter what system van Gaal employs this season, what he needs is a vital link-up between defence and attack. A midfielder who has an appreciation for space and reads the game quicker than most and not one whose first move is to pass sideways. Herrera, the son of a former technical secretary at his boyhood club, Real Zaragoza, used to write scouting reports for his father on players before he was a teenager. He is a self-confessed football addict, who watches multiples leagues around the world. On the pitch it shows. He is a player with great instincts. Against QPR, he made a run into the box early in the game because he knew where Di Marias cross was going before he hit it. Robin van Persie collided with him because he wasnt used to having midfielders make those runs. He is now. His instincts and desire for the ball in tight quarters ensured he won all eight tackles he attempted and secured his team the free kick that Di Maria powered home in the first half. A short time later, he sprinted from deep in his own end on a Di Maria counter, checked his run, and then powered home his shot. He wasnt done, as he glided inside and into space to play a one-two with Mata that allowed United to penetrate into the final third that led to Wayne Rooneys goal. It was only one game of football, against inferior opposition, but Herrera brought qualities to Uniteds midfield that have been missing since Paul Scholes retired. An ability to join the attack, to always be an intelligent outlet by desiring the ball in space, by reading the flow of a move by his team and his opponent, and regularly being in the right place, with or without the ball. Di Maria and Falcao will be fun to watch for United fans this season, but Herreras development under van Gaal will be fascinating to observe. He blossomed under Marcelo Bielsa at Bilbao and in the Dutchman he gets another detailed-oriented boss who loves the game as much as him. He may not be a Gaalatico, but Herrera is the intelligent instigator whose instincts will win Manchester United a lot of games going forward. Ander Herrera and Manchester United travel to Leicester City this Sunday for their next Premier League clash. Join Kristian Jack and Andi Petrillo for the coverage starting at 8am et/5am pt TSN2. Wholesale Panthers Jerseys . The rookie is rewarding their faith with a stellar first season. MacKinnon had a goal and two assists, Jamie McGinn had two goals and an assist, and Colorado beat the Buffalo Sabres 7-1 on Saturday. Cheap Panthers Jerseys Authentic . -- Canadian ski cross star Marielle Thompson accomplished two goals in one race Saturday. http://www.cheapfloridapanthersjerseys. ... ley-jersey. The 17-year-old had four goals and four assists in 38 games for Liberec in the Czech pro league this past season. Zacha had three goals and two assists in seven games at the world mens under-18 championship in April when the Czech Republic took the silver medal. Micheal Haley Jersey . As each game passes (each has played close with the exception of last night) it becomes clearer just how evenly matched these two teams are and how one mistake, or one bad inning, is likely to sway the result. Alex Petrovic Jersey . "Youre not really spending time to sit back and analyze what your competitions doing and things like that," Anthopoulos said. "Youre so focused on what were trying to get done." Ultimately, while the landscape around them changed with trades both major and minor, the Blue Jays did nothing before Thursdays non-waiver deadline.Ryan Moore admits Minding hasnt had an ideal preparation for Fridays Investec Oaks at Epsom - but he cant find a rival hes afraid of either. He was aboard the Aidan OBrien-trained filly for an impressive win in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket but the pair then met with a surprise defeat in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh.The daughter of Galileo banged her head on the stalls prior to going down in a photo finish to Jet Setting but her jockey is more inclined to blame the ground rather than that incident for the result. Writing in his exclusive Betfair blog he said: My high opinion of this filly is well-known and I was gutted that she got beaten in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. But it was a late decision to run in the race after Ballydoyle was found to be off-colour and the fact that she banged her head coming out of the stalls didnt help.However, ultimately, I think that she just found the ground too soft for her against a filly who relished the conditions, and the pair did pull 10 lengths clear of the third. So, yes, you could say that she hasnt had an ideal preparation for this race and that she would want better ground, though it can dry out very quickly here. And she obviously has her stamina to prove. But I think she will stay okay, and you have to look at the opposition when making those kind of assessments.In my opinion she will stay well enough in this company, as I think the formbook tells you that she goes into the race as much the best filly and, to be honest, I am struggling to see one that I am afraid of.Moore also partnered the other Ballydoyle runners, Seventh Heavven and Somehow, to victory in their Epsom trials at Lingfield and Chester respectively.ddddddddddddHe added: Because Seventh Heaven didnt handle the track when beating Architecture at Lingfield, it has been suggested that she wont handle Epsom. I dont buy that argument myself. Lingfield was hard and rough and had holes in it - I walked the track beforehand - and I think we can rest assured that Epsom will present a better surface. Seventh Heaven is a nice big, scopey filly with improvement in her, but soft ground could be a worry for her.Aidans other filly, Somehow, was very green at Chester and would have learned a great deal that day, but the bare form of that race - where Diamonds Pour Moi finished third - does leave her with an awful lot to find with Minding, and the likes of Turret Rocks.Speaking to At The Races, OBrien added: Everyone is happy with the way everything is with Minding so far. She hasnt done much since The Curragh, but Yvonne who rides her every day, was very happy with her this morning. Youre never sure stepping up from a mile to a mile and a half but she has form with an ease in the ground.Both of the other fillies, youd say Epsom might be a little tricky for them, but both have come forward since then very well. I suppose Colms filly [Seventh Heaven] wouldnt want the ground to get too soft, whereas Seamuss filly [Somehow] might just handle it that little bit better, like her mother did. Also See: Live results service Full racecards Get Sky Sports ' ' '
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