But most of us headed to the Fulham Road pessimistic. “I’m sick of coming here and seeing us lose,” moaned a friend in the pub, as kick-off approached.
Before Monday, we’d won just three games at Chelsea this century, and the PSG defeat – plus the injuries to Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial – didn’t inspire confidence. In that very well-to-do gastro pub, smart west Londoners draped in blue-and-white scarves ordered venison scotch eggs and white wine, as if to further emphasise that we were a very long way from Stretford.
But inside, United were absolutely brilliant, on and off the pitch. Urged on by those thousands on the south side of the ground, the players were pitiless in attack and dogged in defence; so much so that Chelsea were made to feel like imposters on their own home turf.
I was in the lower section of the Shed End and, throughout, there was a clatter from above, as those in the upper tier reached over to beat a relentless rhythm on the hoardings below them.
The singing never stopped. At one point in the second half, Ashley Young won a throw-in and earned a roar ferocious enough to shake the trees in Hyde Park. The full-back flashed a quick glance and grin towards us. You sensed he, like us, was loving every minute.
— @I’mBrianSo’smyWife (@wallymac0309) February 18, 2019