Manchester United take on Borussia Dortmund at the Shanghai Stadium on Friday, their first match of their pre-season tour of China. United left Manchester on Tuesday afternoon, arriving in Shanghai before lunch on Wednesday local time. Jose Mourinho named a 25-man squad for the tour, minus the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger among others. United have played once already this summer; beating Wigan Athletic 2-0 at the DW Stadium on Saturday with Will Keane and Andreas Pereira scoring the goals in the second half of the match. Debutants Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan started in the match, with Bailly lasting longest on the pitch. United will be looking to up their fitness against the German side, who despite losing Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan, and Mkhitaryan, still have much of their first team available, missing only two or three players, and they will be looking to beat United.
Mourinho has been training his team in Shanghai, almost as soon as they arrived after an eleven-hour flight, they commenced training in order to get ready for this match, their first big challenge in pre-season. Their next opponents Manchester City will be waiting in Beijing, providing the match is not called off due to bad weather in the Chinese capital. In his press conference on Thursday, Mourinho confirmed that Phil Jones and Bailly will be partnered in defence against the German side in a bid to help the latter get used to playing for United. Bailly did well against Wigan, but will need to be tested and against Dortmund and City on the Chinese leg of the tour, that is what will most likely happen. Speaking about his defensive pairing, Mourinho said:
“In the other match [against Wigan] I started the match with Bailly and Blind as central defenders. Tomorrow I shall start with Bailly and Jones, to see different things and we will try for the best result but that is not the most important thing.”
Mourinho is expecting a tough match from Thomas Tuchel’s side, which will help United get ready for the new season, in which they will face Leicester City at Wembley for the season curtain raiser for the FA Community Shield, before travelling down to Bournemouth a week later for their Premier League opener – a fixture they lost 2-1 last season. United, who are not only getting used to new teammates, they will be playing football differently, which is a good thing, under Mourinho and his coaching team, so it is important that they gel quickly and start the season strong. Mourinho, speaking about the test Borussia Dortmund might bring for United, said:
“They are a team that has played five matches and a team that has five matches in their legs. They started training a couple of weeks before us and they didn’t have so many players like we did in the Copa America and the Euros.
“So basically they only have two or three players out, they have the whole team working together for about a month and I repeat they have played five matches. So I expect to see two teams in different moments of their preparation, but it is good for us because it is more of a challenge.
“We are not here in pre-season playing for points so if you don’t win then you don’t win. You try to have conditioning in the team and to know the players better. For example I want to see the different formations and different players in different positions with different combinations.”
In the victory over Wigan on Saturday, Luke Shaw made his comeback for United after spending ten months on the sidelines recovering from bis double leg fracture sustained in the UEFA Champions League against PSV Eindhoven. It was great to see him back, which will be something of a boost for his teammates, especially Memphis Depay, who had a good partnership with him on the left early last season. Memphis seemed lost without Shaw after his injury, which may have also lost him some confidence in his first season at the club. This season might be better for Memphis and hopefully Shaw, who thought he might never play again. Speaking at Thursday’s press conference, Shaw said:
“When I first did it [the injury] the first thoughts that went through my head were ‘am I going to play football again’ and ‘how long am I going to be out for’. I wasn’t thinking too much of the pain because I can deal with that at that point but yes there was a fear of how long it was going to take or even if I was going to get back playing football.
“Obviously, as I was going through it [the rehabilitation process] I knew I was coming back. I think now I’m just looking past it, I’m not going to look back, I’m just going to look forward now and obviously my leg feels great and you know I just want to push on in this pre-season and get fully fit.”
Manchester United Squad:
Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone;
Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Paddy McNair, Axel Tuanzebe;
Midfielders: Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Adnan Januzaj, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Andreas Pereira;
Strikers: Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford, Will Keane
Borussia Dortmund Squad:
Goalkeepers: Roman Weidenfeller, Roman Bürki, Hendrik Bonmann;
Defenders: Park Jo-Hoo, Marc Bartra, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Marcel Schmelzer, Erik Durm;
Midfielders: Marco Hober, Sven Bender, Nuri Sahin, Emre Mor, Moritz Leitner, Sebastian Rode, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Christian Pulisic, Shinji Kagawa, Mikel Merino, Gonzalo Castro, Felix Passlack, Dzenis Burnic;
Strikers: Ousmane Dembéle, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Adrián Ramos
Predicted Starting XI:
Manchester United 2-1 Borussia Dortmund