Anssi Jaakkola: 6
A surprisingly quiet afternoon for the Finn, who couldn’t be faulted either of Manchester United’s goals. His distribution was pretty good, playing out of the back calmly without any glaring errors, and he made a strong save from Pereira in stoppage time to keep the score at 2-0.
Andy Yiadom: 7
Got forward really well in the first half from right-back. Although he could have done more with his two chances (one blazed over, the other straight at Romero), he’s a defender at the end of the day, not a striker. Moved to centre half in the second half when Ilori came off, and he looked comfortable there.
Tiago Ilori: 6
Played out from the back well in the 45 minutes he was on the pitch, but lost Lukaku for the second goal. To be fair, the Belgian’s clever movement made tracking him difficult, but you’d still want Ilori to do a better job of holding the striker up. Subbed off at half-time due to a minor injury.
Liam Moore: 7
Very calm and composed at the back, and made some important interceptions to keep the score down, such as a sliding challenge in the second half to nick the ball away from Chong. Brought the ball out very well too.
Omar Richards: 6
Like Yiadom he pushed forwards well and looked good on the ball, but he rashly gave away a crucial penalty that would make it 1-0. He barged into the back of Mata, who had played in an offside Fred, for a stonewall spot-kick. That was an annoying reminder of the fact that, despite being bright going forwards, Richards is liable to naive moments defensively.
Liam Kelly: 7
Industrious on and off the ball throughout the game, he looked bright in Jose Gomes’ double pivot. He used the ball well, which was crucial to Reading keeping possession, and for me looks a more natural fit to that deep-lying playmaker role than Swift.
Andy Rinomhota: 8
What a player this guy is. Energetic, combative, composed, and he can even play right-back too. Rinomhota was in the thick of the action today, playing both central midfield and right-back, and excelled in both positions. He’s only 21, but his maturity and reliability puts more seasoned pros to shame.
Garath McCleary: 5
For me, he didn’t create enough. Admirable work-rate, but he wasn’t involved in the final third to the same extent as fellow winger Harriott who had a few shots at goal. McCleary still has a part to play for this squad, but he’s lost the pace and directness of previous years, and needs to adapt accordingly.
John Swift: 6
One of those classic Swift performances, with the midfielder showcasing both his creative and frustrating sides. He lazily gave the ball away in the build-up to United’s second - a critical error - but also moved the ball around well. Must be more influential in the final third, even if his failure in that regard is more excusable away to Manchester United.
Callum Harriott: 6
Looked bright going forwards, and took the opportunity to find space and run at the home defence, even if he never really put the afterburners on. Had a few efforts from range that didn’t trouble Romero, but should have done better when played through by Aluko (even if he was offside).
Danny Loader: 6
Had to work hard up top on his own, and did well to both compete physically with the United defenders and get in behind. That said, he didn’t have the end product, and should have buried a first-half opportunity when he rounded Romero but didn’t pull the trigger.
Sone Aluko: 7
Looked really bright off the bench and full of the confidence that he often lacks, also getting into dangerous areas more than usual. Cleverly set up Harriott for that previously mentioned chance.
Modou Barrow: 6
Gave Reading good pace and width down the left, doing better in that regard than McCleary who he replaced.
Yakou Meite: 5
No real impact in his quarter of an hour or so on the pitch, except to blast over a shot from a tight angle (from an offside position).
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