Donny van de Beek knows Manchester United can ill-afford any let up with Champions League progress still to be sealed and an important Premier League match looming large.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side followed up Saturday evening’s underwhelming Old Trafford win against promoted West Brom with a more convincing home performance against Istanbul Basaksehir.
Bruno Fernandes’ brace was complemented by Marcus Rashford’s penalty and a late Daniel James strike in a 4-1 win against the Turkish champions, meaning United need just a point from their remaining two Group H matches to qualify for the last 16.
But Van de Beek, like his manager, is not taking progress for granted with Paris St Germain coming to town next week and knows for all the positives on Tuesday that there remains work to do.
“I think a good reaction from the away game,” the Holland international said, referring to United’s 2-1 loss to Basaksehir at the start of November. “4-1 at home, I think that you can be happy.
“I think the first half was really good, especially the first 30 minutes. We play really nice football, we score nice goals.
“I think second half we lose too many balls and we gave them some chances.
“But the last five minutes we control the game again and, yeah, we make a nice goal also.
“I think we have also some chances to make the fourth goal (sooner). But we didn’t do that and we lose too many balls.
“Then you have the control of the game, you lose that. That was not good from our side.”
Put to Van de Beek that there is still work to do in Group H, he added: “Yes, that’s true.
“It’s not finished, but we are in a good position and we need to keep working, and then everything will be fine.
“Now we need to keep the eyes on the weekend – that’s also really important.”
United travel to high-flying Southampton on Sunday afternoon looking to build momentum.
Van de Beek underlined his case for a starting role at St Mary’s by putting in an impressive performance against Basaksehir, linking up well with Bruno Fernandes and Fred in midfield.
“It worked really well,” the summer signing told MUTV.
A solid showing from this man so far 💪
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 24, 2020
“Some games I play no.10 and sometimes the coach needs me in the control position. That’s fine for me. Before, in Ajax, I was also playing in that position, so that’s OK.”
United have some injury concerns ahead of Sunday’s return to Premier League action on the south coast.
Paul Pogba has missed both matches since the end of the international break due to an ankle complaint, while Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were brought off against Basaksehir.
“(Pogba’s) ankle was swollen up,” Solskjaer said “He trained yesterday but didn’t feel right and this morning was confirmation he couldn’t play.”
On Lindelof and Wan-Bissaka, the United boss said: “Hopefully they’ll be ready for the weekend but we’re not sure.
“It’s back problems for Victor and he had an ankle problem, Aaron, so there was no point taking any more chances and risking more swelling to it.”