FIVE things we learned from Manchester United 1 Sheffield United 0

Jay McEveley leads out the Sheffield United team at Old Trafford
Jay McEveley leads out the Sheffield United team at Old Trafford
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Sheffield United were cruelly undone by a late Wayne Rooney penalty on Saturday after a battling FA Cup third round display at Old Trafford.

The Blades had more than held their own up until injury time when Dean Hammond's rash challenge on Memphis Depay saw the Red Devils awarded a spot kick and England's record goalscorer duly hammered it home past an until then relatively untroubled George Long.

Here are FIVE things we learned after the game...

Money doesn't buy entertainment

Manchester United are dire. There are plenty of other ways of putting it, but that's as polite as it gets. Louis van Gaal's side are ponderous, boring and devoid of anything that resembled the dynamic sides of Sir Alex Ferguson and their fans must now dread going to watch them these days. Over £200m was spent putting that team together but I've personally seen about ten League One sides give Sheffield United a tougher game...and with a lot more excitement too.

Blades fans must be among the noisiest in the country

Blades fans made plenty of noise at Old Trafford

Blades fans made plenty of noise at Old Trafford

From the minute they began to fill up their allocated seating, Sheffield United's 8,500 supporters were in full voice and they didn't stop until well after the final whistle. The noise was incredible and it's just as well because the Manchester United fans who outnumbered them by about six to one weren't being given much reason to lift the atmosphere inside Old Trafford. It's just a shame that Bramall Lane didn't get to host a replay - imagine the din!

MORE: VIDEO - Adkins says Blades attempted to turn Manchester United fans against their own team

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Dean Hammond - the undeserving villain

A dejected Dean Hammond

A dejected Dean Hammond

The on-loan Leicester City midfielder took time to settle at Bramall Lane but in recent weeks has shown his immense quality - not least on Saturday. He was everywhere; breaking up play, putting pressure on Manchester United's midfield and giving them no time at all to settle on the ball. Then, he flew in with a tackle he really didn't need to. The cause will have most likely been mental fatigue - as it will have been for John Brayford who allowed Depay to get past him a little bit too easily. When you concentrate on your tactical discipline for so long, it's hardly surprising that there will be a momentary lapse.

Discipline was the key factor in Sheffield United's display

That late slip aside, United's performance was built around a team who worked hard and didn't allow themselves to stray from the tactics set out by Nigel Adkins. Now they have to do that in every game and push up the table. There is no reason why that team can't remain resolute against League One opponents but still have enough about them to create a lot more too.

Was it a missed opportunity?

Billy Sharp applauds the fans

Billy Sharp applauds the fans

Perhaps I'm being overly harsh here but while Sheffield United defended brilliantly, going forward they didn't play to their strengths. Too often the ball was played over the top to Billy Sharp and Chris Smalling won almost every battle with ease. That's never Sharp's game and you wonder what might have happened had they played the ball down the channels to the striker, which would suit him more. Maybe a few more corners would have been won and then you just never know. However, it would be grossly unfair to overplay such a thing after a terrific display.

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