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2018/19 – International Champions Cup – AC Milan – Carson, CA

Manchester United won 9-8 on penalties after drawing 1-1 with AC Milan in the opening game of the International Champions Cup in Carson, California. Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a sublime finish, however, Suso equalised two minutes later.

Jose Mourinho made seven changes with Lee Grant starting in goal again with Matteo Darmian replacing the injured Antonio Valencia, who had headed back to Manchester for treatment on his calf injury. Axel Tuanzebe starts his first game this summer with Scott McTominay replacing James Garner in the team. Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata lead the line after Anthony Martial left the USA to be with his pregnant girlfriend.

United started the match in good stead, getting a credible opportunity on goal after winning a free-kick in the first minute. Mata’s delivery asked questions of the Milan defence, coming to nothing though. McTominay inside the third minute, had a chance on goal but Gianluigi Donnarumma made the save, denying the Academy graduate from scoring the opening goal of the game.

In the fifth minute of the match, Frank Kessie had a shot on goal, hitting the side netting. United started to take control of the game, pressing the Milan defence and seeking to gain something in the early stages. In the seventh minute, Sanchez was fouled around 30-yards out, winning a free-kick for United. The Chilean took the free-kick, aiming for goal with Donnarumma parrying out for a corner.

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United took the lead in the 12th minute of the game after Mata sent a through ball into Sanchez, who was clean through Milan’s defence, beating Donnarumma firing into the far corner of the net. United did not score in the last match, scoring once in the first game. This will be a welcome goal by the Chilean. The lead didn’t last long with Suso equalising in the 15th minute of the match, assisted by Leonardo Bonucci.

United looked to get ahead in the game again with Sanchez looking to start something, playing the ball to the left and waiting in the box to get a cross in. Sadly, nothing came of this attack for United but Mourinho’s side were still on top in this period of the game, pressuring the Milan defence and winning another corner in the 22nd minute after some free-flowing play. Sanchez went for goal from the corner, just off target.

United had a great chance in the 27th minute with Sanchez on the break, Mata in the box and the Chilean passing the ball with Herrera having a shot on goal, which was deflected out with United winning a corner. United were still dominating, seemingly catching Donnarumma off his line, the Italian saving his blushes but giving United another corner with McTominay heading towards goal, Donnarumma catching it.

Milan won a corner and pressured United for a period, aiming to take the lead themselves. The shot on goal was caught by Grant as United looked to pressure the Italian side once again. There was a water break in the game in the 31st minute with Mourinho talking to his players, seemingly making suggestions ahead of the remainder of the half.

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United were playing some good football, stringing some good passes together and creating some good chances. In the 40th minute, Mata had the chance to shoot but was somehow dispossessed with Milan getting some time to threaten themselves. United were showing signs of danger, mostly through Sanchez, who looks to be starting to hit some form, despite this being a pre-season match.

United created another chance late in the first half with Darmian on the ball but his cross being hit too hard and missing any chance of connecting with a teammate. Three minutes were added on at the end of the first half. Milan were looking to take charge of the game, trying to pressure United, winning a free-kick which was well over the crossbar instead of causing problems for Grant.

It was an entertaining half of football with United adding more creativity to their game and Sanchez seemingly looking like a player not far from hitting scintillating form, which will be good for United ahead of the new season. Kessie had a late chance for Milan, which was blocked, resulting in a corner for Milan, which did not happen because the referee ended the half, ending 1-1.

At the start if the second half, Mourinho made one change with Joel Pereira replacing Grant. United should have taken the lead through Sanchez in the 47th minute of the match after the Chilean rushed into the box but did not connect with the ball enough to find the back of the net. McTominay had another opportunity to find a goal, unable to do so in the early stages of the second half.

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In the 55th minute of the match, after a lapse of concentration by United, Milan were able to break through and attempt to find the goal that would put them ahead in the game. It never happened after the defence thwarted the attack, adding pressure in the final seconds. United immediately got back on the attack themselves, seeking to find a winner themselves. Bailly dropped down injured but was able to continue.

Shaw had an opportunity to create something in the 62nd minute of the match, going for goal and winning a corner. Shaw then had another shot on goal but Pepe Reina, who had just replaced Donnarumma, made a great save. The offside flag was raised though as Sanchez was interfering with play, from an offside position so a goal, if one was scored, would not have counted anyway.

Milan had another chance to take something from the game in the 66th minute of the match but the shot on goal was well over the crossbar and still rising into the stands. Suso was lively for the Italian side, pressuring United’s defence in the box, winning a corner, which was cleared by United, ending up a goal kick for Pereira. Milan were straight back on the prowl for a second goal though.

United had a great chance with an over the top ball his to Sanchez, who was rushing into Milan’s box, the defence cut his angle down so he could not immediately shoot. Mata arrived into the box and Sanchez passed the ball to him but the Spaniard’s shot was met by Reina, thwarting another good chance from United. Sanchez is having a great game. Perhaps he was judged, by some, too soon!

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Kessie had a chance in the 79th minute but it came to nothing. Sanchez then launched a blistering run into Milan’s half, passing the ball to keep the attack alive but Milan then dispossessing the launching an attack themselves, which came to nothing. Milan won a free-kick from a good position but Pereira caught the ball to thwart the chance.

In the 74th minute, Mourinho made a change with Tim Fosu-Mensah replacing Shaw with the manager signalling Darmian to move over to the left-back position with Fosu-Mensah playing as the right-back. The Dutchman immediately got involved in the game, dispossessing Milan in the box to keep United in charge of the game with just under 15 minutes to play. The referee called for another water break in the 77th minute of the match.

In the 80th minute, Herrera had a shot on goal after some good interplay from United with Sanchez, Herrera, Pereira and Mata all involved. With ten minutes remaining, the match was likely to go to penalties as a winner would need to be found. United seemed determined to find a winner with Sanchez the standout player from the match so far.

Milan nearly scored the winner in the 85th minute but they hit the post after beating Pereira, saving United’s blushes. Milan were dealing with the advantage at this stage of the game, pressuring United on the edge of their area, seeking a way to win the game. Milan won a free-kick, which seemed like Darmian was fouled, the referee giving it the other way.

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The free-kick was launched into the box, Pereira rose to catch the ball, did not get a grip of it, recovering and sending United forward. In the 88th minute of the match, Ethan Hamilton made his debut, replacing Mata. Milan had a chance in the last minute of the match but Bailly cut out the pass inside the box, thwarting another opportunity to score.

Three minutes of stoppage time was played at the end of the second half. Here was booked in stoppage time for a challenge, the first booking of the match. The match ended 1-1 with penalties deciding the result. Pereira took the first penalty, beating Reina. 1-0 United. Calhanoglu scored Milan’s first penalty. Herrera took United’s second, beating Reina. 2-1 United. Borini took Milan’s second, saved by Pereira. Still 2-1 to United.

Sanchez took United’s third penalty, beating Reina. United lead 3-1 now. Kessie took Milan’s third, scoring. 3-2 to United now. McTominay took United’s fourth, which was saved by Reina. Still 3-2 to United. Suso took Milan’s fourth, Pereira making the save. Still 3-2 to United. Joel Pereira took the final penalty, replacing Smalling on Mourinho’s orders, saved by Reina. Still 3-2 to United. Reina took Milan’s fifth, now 3-3.

Sudden death now. Bailly took United’s sixth, saved by Reina. Advantage Milan now with the chance to win the match. Romagnoli took Milan’s sixth, hitting the post. United were still alive. Smalling took United’s seventh, beating Reina. 4-3 United. Milan have to score now. Calabria took Milan’s seventh, just beating Pereira. Now 4-4.

Tuanzebe took United’s eighth, beating Reina. 5-4 to United. Kalinic with Milan’s eighth, beating Pereira. Now 5-5. Fosu-Mensah with United’s ninth, beating Reina. 6-5 to United. Musacchio took Milan’s ninth, beating Pereira. Now 6-6. Hamilton took United’s tenth, saved by Reina. Mauri took Milan’s tenth, saved by Pereira. Darmian with United’s eleventh, beat Reina. 7-6 to United. Antonelli beat Pereira, now 7-7.

Pereira took his second penalty, beating Reina. 8-7 to United. Calhanoglu beat Pereira with a stunning penalty, taking it to 8-8. Herrera took his second, beating Reina. Now 9-8 to United. Kessie took his second, hitting his shot over the crossbar. United won 9-8 on penalties. The second match in the International Champions Cup will be against Liverpool in Michigan on Saturday evening, kick off 22:05 BST in the United Kingdom.

Goals: Alexis Sanchez 12′

Assists: Juan Mata 12′

Manchester United: Grant (J. Pereira 46′); Darmian, Bailly, Smalling, Tuanzebe, Shaw (Fosu-Mensah 74′); Herrera, McTominay, A. Pereira; Mata (Hamilton 88′), Sanchez

Substitutes Not Used: Mitchell, Williams; Garner, Gomes, Bohui, Chong, Greenwood

Bookings: Ander Herrera 90+1

2018/19 – Pre-Season Friendly – San Jose Earthquakes – Santa Clara, CA

Manchester United drew for the second time in their pre-season tour of the USA, this time against San Jose Earthquakes at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. United had a few chances, through Eric Bailly, who hit the crossbar, Alexis Sanchez, who went wide with a free-kick and Scott McTominay, who did not put enough into his header on goal.

Jose Mourinho made a few changes from the side which start against Club America in the early hours of Friday morning. Alexis Sanchez, Tahith Chong, James Garner, and Joel Pereira started in place of Demetri Mitchell, Juan Mata, Scott McTominay, and Lee Grant. United started the game in good stead, pressing the American side for an early goal. Valencia saw his cross into the box cleared, thwarting the attack.

In the fourth minute of the match, United were in possession in the San Jose box. Sanchez whipped in a cross which Bailly got to the end of, hitting the inside of the crossbar instead of the back of the net. It was a good chance for United. However, in the eighth minute of the match, Valencia was replaced by Matteo Darmian due to injury.

United were looking bright in the early stages of the match and Sanchez, after a long summer holiday, looked ready to drive United forward. The Chilean had the chance to cross the ball into the box, after chasing it into the corner but could not get the cross away from his man. San Jose, whose fitness levels will be much better then United with them being three months into their season, saw them enter a purple patch.

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In the twelfth minute, United had better possession of the ball with Shaw driving forward into space. Martial, as the striker, was not getting the service he needed, which has been problematic over the past few seasons but right now it will be because of the likes of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, also Fred not being part of the tour, so far at least.

Sanchez was fouled by Florian Jungworth in the 17th minute of the match, the German seemingly grabbing the next of the Chilean, bringing him down. The San Jose captain was shown the yellow card, the first one of the match. Twenty minutes into the match, Shaw conceded a free-kick, which came to nothing for the Earthquakes. United, despite not having much creativity, were doing well thus far.

In the 24th minute, Martial had a break on the ball, got into the box, looked like he was going to shoot and got dispossessed at the last second. Shaw had a chance in the 26th minute but his volley hit the ground, taking the thunder out of the strike and sending it over the crossbar. Two minutes later, Martial fed the ball into Ander Herrera but the return from the Spaniard was not strong enough.

Sanchez won a free-kick on the half hour mark of the match, took it himself and saw his shot whistle just wide of the target. Two minutes later, there was a water break in the game, which was something both teams look like they needed at this stage. On the sidelines during the break, Kieran McKenna was speaking to a number of the players, giving them instructions, presumably from the manager.

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The break ended three minutes later and two minutes into the restart, seemingly one of the highlights of the first half, a dead bird had to be removed from the pitch with Jungworth removing his shirt, taking the bird off the grass and returning to the pitch to continue the game. San Jose won a free-kick at the edge of United’s box in the 40th minute of the game, which came to nothing for the MLS side.

The time from the water break was added on at the end of the half with United seeking to go into the break a goal to the good. However, it was not happening for Mourinho’s side. San Jose were adjudged to be offside twice in the added time, seeking to capitalise themselves. The half ended 0-0 with the chances from the game both coming from United with Bailly’s crossbar rattler and Sanchez’s free-kick.

At the start of the second half, Mourinho made five changes with Grant replaced Pereira, Timothy Fosu-Mensah replacing Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe replacing Smalling, Scott McTominay replacing Garner, and Mata replacing Chong. United had a chance through Pereira in the 51st minute but it was always going to be wide of the target. United needed to be a little more clinical in this half of the game.

In the 57th minute of the match, San Jose could have found the first goal, seemingly beating Grant with Fosu-Mensah clearing the ball off the line, which may earn him some plaudits with Mourinho, especially in the fact he is seeking a new central defender this summer. Perhaps the Dutchman could be a player in contention with the media driving the agenda of United seeking to buy?

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United had a good chance on goal in the 65th minute of the match with Herrera through on goal but he was offside. United made another change with Sanchez being replaced by Mason Greenwood. United had more possession in the second half of the game but in terms of chances being created, there was little that needed to be spoken about.

San Jose had another shot on goal but Grant made a great save to deny the MLS side from taking the lead in this game. From the corner, the Earthquakes had another shot but it was rising over the crossbar despite Grant rising to tip the ball over the crossbar. United, after breaking forward, won a free-kick after Herrera was taken down just on the edge of the box in the right-hand side.

Mata took the free-kick, floating the ball into the box but the Earthquakes made the clearance with United having to regain possession and start their counter again. United won another corner with 15 minutes remaining after Greenwood was calling for the ball in the centre of the box and the ball being put out of play. Nothing came of the corner.

Mourinho made another change with Mitchell replacing Shaw in the 76th minute of the match, just before another water break delayed the match from continuing. United had another chance with McTominay in the box with Greenwood playing the cross into the box but the Scotland international did not put enough on the chance.

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United started to press late into the game but that inspired San Jose to break forward themselves. With ten minutes to play, the MLS side nearly scored, beating Grant with only the crossbar saving United blushes. In the 83rd minute of the match, Mourinho made another change with Angel Gomes replacing Pereira. Grant made another save late on, denying Chris Wondolowski. United then had a corner, which came to nothing.

Two minutes of added time was played at the end of the half with both sides seeking that winning goal. The match ended 0-0 with little to congratulate either side for. Grant was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the second half. In terms of creativity, United need to find something from somewhere otherwise the start of the season is going to be tough with at least seven first team players missing from the squad.

Manchester United: J. Pereira (Grant 46′); Valencia (Darmian 8′), Bailly (Fosu-Mensah 46′), Smalling (Tuanzebe 46′), Shaw (Mitchell 76′); Herrera, Garner (McTominay 46′), A. Pereira (Gomes 83′); Chong (Mata 46′), Martial, Sanchez (Greenwood 65′)

Substitutes Not Used: Williams; Bohui, Hamilton

Bookings: Axel Tuanzebe 90′

2018/19 – Pre-Season Friendly – Club America – Phoenix, AZ

Manchester United drew 1-1 with Mexican side Club America in the first pre-season match of the summer, played at the University of Phoenix Stadium. It was a goal-less first half with the Mexican side scoring on the hour after a number of changes. Juan Mata scored United equaliser after hitting the post in the first half of the match.

Jose Mourinho started an experienced side against the Mexican team in United’s first pre-season match of the summer. Anthony Martial led the line, flanked by Juan Mata and Demetri Mitchell with a midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Scott McTominay, and Andreas Pereira ahead of a back four which consisted of Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, and Luke Shaw, with Lee Grant making his debut for his new club.

United started the match and immediately tried to get into the advanced area in search of an opening goal of pre-season, however, Club America were seeking the same thing. It may have been 40 degrees outside but the atmosphere inside the stadium, with the roof closed, was much cooler. It was a bright start for Mitchell, who started the match in an advanced left-wing role.

United had the first chance in the seventh minute of the match with Pereira moving the ball forward to Martial, seeking to play a one-two with Herrera but the Mexican side cut possessions thwarting United’s chance to find an early goal. The Mexican side then had a period of possession before United won the ball through Martial with United taking charge of the game, holding possession and launching an attack.

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In the ninth minute, Martial came down in the box, seemingly with the player seeking a penalty. However, a corner was awarded instead after the Frenchman went to ground too easily, which came to nothing for Mourinho’s side. The Mexican side had a chance in the 12th minute of the match, which came to nothing for them. United had another shot on goal in the 13th minute, through Martial from just outside of the box, it was over.

In the 15th minute of the match, United were advancing into the final third of the pitch, finding Mata in a perfect position to unleash a shot on goal, which came off the far post with the Spaniard just inside the box when he shot on goal. It was an unfortunate miss for United. United then started to control the game, in slow fashion with plenty of players in Club America’s half of the pitch.

United were the team on top in the first quarter of the match, having another chance to take the lead in the 19th minute which saw Shaw in an advanced area aiming to get something for his side. Martial had a shot on goal in the 22nd minute of the match, taking a double deflection with United winning a corner, taken by Pereira, which was cleared from danger by the Mexican side.

Club America started to get themselves into the game in the 26th minute with Grant having to make his first save as a United player. United seemed to be a bit sloppy in defence, unable to clear the ball in the run up to Grant’s save. The Mexican side had another shot, after a good period of play from United, in the 31st minute of the match but the shot was well off target and into the stands.

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Club America tested United’s defence again with Grant coming into play once again with an impressive save to deny the Mexican side from taking the lead. United were unable to clear the ball from the danger area in the run up to the shot with the Mexican’s rushing into advanced areas and seemingly seeking to open United up, which they nearly did. It was impressive play by both teams.

In the 37th minute of the match, Club America were breaking through United’s midfield and defence once again, although not as dangerously as they had, at times, launching a cross into the box with United making the clearance, giving away a corner, which came to nothing, giving another corner away minutes later, which turned into another, all coming to nothing for the Mexican side.

In the final five minutes of the first half, both United and Club America were trying to find the better chance to take a lead into the break. Valencia played a good ball forward, into space, nearly getting ahead of his man and advancing but the Mexican side made the clearance to deny Valencia from the space to put a cross into the box. United won a free-kick, through Martial in the 44th minute of the match.

Mata aimed to take the free-kick quickly, the referee stopping it and giving the Mexican side enough time to find some stability in their side. Pereira ended up taking the free-kick, sending the ball goal wards but not quite on target. Club America ended the half on the front foot, gaining ground and seeking to end in style but United made the clearance, which ended the half.

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At the start of the second half, Mourinho made two changes with Joel Pereira replacing Grant and Timothy Fosu-Mensah replacing Valencia. United started the second half more defensive with the Mexican side, after a number of changes, seemingly seeking to change the game. Whilst United did break through Martial, he lost the ball just before entering the final third.

Shaw won a free-kick in the 50th minute of the game after being blocked when trying to create something for his side. It came to nothing for United. The game was starting to become fast-paced with the Mexican side, somewhat fresher with all the changes, putting some pressure on United but it was pressure they were able to deal with efficiently and effectively.

Shaw made good dispossession in the box and led United on the attack. However, the Mexican side regained possession and broke on the counter. Joel Pereira made a good save, coming off his line and cutting out the chance of a goal, showing his ability as a goalkeeper, which will be good for him before he heads out of the club on loan at some point this summer, presumably when De Gea arrives next week.

In the 56th minute of the match, Martial was in a good position in the box, seeking to collect the pass but Club America dealt with the chance effectively, making the clearance from danger. In the 58th minute, two more changes were made by the Mexican side with United still having nine players on the pitch from the first half.

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Club America took the lead on the hour mark with a bullet header which Pereira could not stop, straight into the top corner. It was a great goal which left United needing to gain something from this match. Mourinho made a double change with Tahith Chong and Matteo Darmian replacing Martial and Mitchell. United seemed to be under the cosh in the passing five minutes after going a goal down.

Chong had a good bit of involvement in the 66th minute, playing the ball into the advanced area after regaining possession and breaking forward. However, his pass did not reach a teammate in order to create something for United. United won a corner in the 75th minute of the match, still trailing. Just before the corner was taken, Mourinho made another change with 16-year-old Mason Greenwood replacing Shaw.

United found the equaliser in the 79th minute with Mata getting on the end of the ball and firing past the Mexican side’s goalkeeper. It was now level with all the play for in the game. United were off the mark in terms of goals, despite going 1-0 down early in the second half. United won a corner in the 83rd minute, despite pressuring the Mexican side, nothing came of it.

With just over five minutes left, McTominay was down, seemingly suffering from a head injury. He was treated on the pitch but came off with Axel Tuanzebe replacing him. Angel Gomes then replaced Mata with three minutes of normal time left in the game. Two minutes were added on at the end of the match. That was it for the first pre-season game, not a defeat for United but not a victory, however, some impressive performances.

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Goals: Juan Mata 78′

Manchester United: Grant (J. Pereira 46′); Valencia (Fosu-Mensah 46′), Bailly, Smalling, Shaw (Greenwood 76′); Herrera, McTominay (Tuanzebe 87′), A. Pereira; Mata (Gomes 87′), Martial (Darmian 60′), Mitchell (Chong 60′)

Substitutes Not Used: Williams; Hamilton, Garner; Bohui

Bookings: Luke Shaw 73′

Pre-Season 2017 – UC Sampdoria

Manchester United beat Sampdoria 2-1 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Wednesday evening. It was Henrikh Mkhitaryan who scored the opening goal in the ninth minute, assisted by Matteo Darmian. The Italian side equalised in the 63rd minute of the match, getting themselves back into the game, but within twenty minutes, after many changes, Juan Mata scored the winner for United after a great assist by Anthony Martial, who seems to be nearing the blistering form he had shown in his debut season at the club. United manager Jose Mourinho will have a selection headache ahead of the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid on Tuesday evening.

Jose Mourinho made a few changes to his team for his last pre-season match of the summer. United started well but in the opening minutes Daley Blind played a back pass which caught David De Gea off guard and the Spanish goalkeeper had to make the dive to stop the own goal. The referee gave an indirect free-kick on the edge of the six-yard box with all United’s players on the line, blocking the attempt and immediately going on the attack through Antonio Valencia on the right flank, passing to Matteo Darmian who crossed into the box with Henrikh Mkhitaryan heading the ball into the back of the net. From end to end, opening the scoring for United.

United continued to get stuck into the opposition throughout the opening 20 minutes of the match with Valencia showing his class against Sampdoria. The Ecuadorian put the cross in for Mkhitaryan, who could not get his second goal of the match. United were dominating after the early scare, which was caused by Blind. In the 24th minute, Romelu Lukaku cut in from the right and fired his shot goal bound, which was just wide of the target. United were getting forward at each chance they had with Valencia, Mkhitaryan, and Lukaku trying their best. Even Nemanja Matic was looking like he had been part of this side for more than a few days.

In the 32nd minute of the match, Darmian broke forward on the left flank again, getting deep into Sampdoria’s half, crossing the ball into the box for the on rushing Lukaku, who could not find the target. Lukaku and Paul Pogba were doing well throughout the early stages of the match. United were unlucky to not have scored two or three goals more at this stage. Sampdoria had the chance to get themselves back into the match in the 42nd minute, the resulting shot on goal was just wide of the target. United seemed to drop off in the latter stages of the half, still on top heading into the break.

Lukaku broke forward with just under two minutes of the half remaining, getting beat by the defender to the ball and unable to put more pressure in the Serie A side. There was a minute of added time at the end of the first half with United aiming to make some space, break forward and score a second before the whistle blew, but it did not go as planned. Pogba had a chance just before the end of the half, hitting his shot over the crossbar, off target. United did well in the first half and lead the Italian side 1-0 with all to play for in the second half.

At the start of the second half, Mourinho made four changes with Ander Herrera replacing Pereira, Juan Mata replacing Mkhitaryan, Michael Carrick replacing Matic, and Marouane Fellaini replacing Pogba. Sampdoria tried to take control of the early stages of the half after the changes with United looking to continue their domination of the Italian side. Some good interplay from Herrera and Valencia could have created a chance for United, but after Herrera passed back into the box from a one-two with Valencia, no United players were in the box to take advantage, which could have been United’s second goal of the evening.

In the 60th minute, Mourinho made two further changes with Marcus Rashford replacing Lukaku and Anthony Martial replacing Blind. United then seemingly reverted to a back four formation with United getting on the attack straight away, to no avail despite looking bright to find a second goal just after the double substitution. In the 62nd minute, Herrera, who was offside, scored, seeing his effort disallowed because of the offside. It was a good bit of play from United though and a good finish for the Spanish midfielder. United were still in charge of the match and with Rashford and Martial both on the pitch, they could run them ragged.

Sampdoria equalised on the 63rd minute after United had their offside goal ruled out, running straight up the other end and finding a goal themselves. Rashford took on his man after the goal, getting to the edge of the box and crossing over to the other side of the pitch with Martial looking to break through. The Frenchman lofted a cross into Fellaini, who could not meet the ball with his head one-on-one with the keeper. Sampdoria then made some changes with United chasing the winning goal. Rashford won a free-kick after being fouled at the edge of the area on the run with Martial also making up ground on the Italians.

Mata took the free-kick with Herrera running across the ball, it then going through the wall and straight into the keepers hands. It was a good free-kick for United, not one to find the goal to put United into the lead through. In the 76th minute, Mourinho made four more changes with Joel Pereira replacing De Gea, Phil Jones replacing Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly replacing Chris Smalling, and Axel Tuanzebe replacing Darmian. After the changes United had a good chance on goal with Rashford using his pace. United had the chance to find the winner but the goalkeeper got hold of the ball with just over ten minutes remaining.

Martial used his pace and ability on the ball to break through on the left flank with Rashford screaming for the ball, the Frenchman’s pass broken down. Seconds later Martial did the same, passing to Mata, who put United ahead in the 81st minute of the match. United had two chances in a minute with Herrera shooting from outside the box, saved by the keeper with the rebound being shot by Rashford, not hitting the target. United could have had a third goal. Three minutes were added on at the end of the second half, United still dominating the Italian side.

Goals: Henrikh Mkhitaryan 9′, Juan Mata 81′

Assists: Matteo Darmian 9′, Anthony Martial 81′

Manchester United: De Gea (J. Pereira 77′); Lindelof (Jones 77′), Smalling (Bailly 77′), Blind (Martial 60′); Valencia, Matic (Carrick 46′), A. Pereira (Herrera 46′), Pogba (Fellaini 46′), Darmian (Tuanzebe 77′); Mkhitaryan (Mata 46′), Lukaku (Rashford 60′) 76′

Substitutes Not Used: Fosu-Mensah; McTominay

Pre-Season 2017 – Valerenga IF

Manchester United beat Valerenga 3-0 at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo, Norway on Sunday evening. Marouane Fellaini opened the scoring in the 44th minute of the match with a deflected header, which seemingly ended speculation of an exit to Galatasaray this summer as he looks to continue his career at the Old Trafford club ahead of the new season. It was a half of many chances for United, who just could not get the ball into the back of the next, at least until the Belgian midfielder, who everyone loves to hate, put to ball into the back of the net. Henrikh Mkhitaryan nearly opened the scoring after Juan Mata set him up with a chance.

Romelu Lukaku scored United’s second goal a minute after the start of the second half, after Jose Mourinho made nine changes at the break, playing four at the back in the first half and three at the back in the second half. United dominated the possession throughout the match, showing the different classes between the Premier League and the Norwegian league, a void which was not all that close. Paul Pogba did his best to get involved in the game, peppering the opposition with shots throughout his time in the match, him being replaced by Scott McTominay in the 61st minute and many suggest McTominay, despite starting his United career at this level was not good enough.

McTominay scored United third goal in the 70th minute of the match, ending the scoring with United leading their plaudits in their first pre-season match of the summer in Europe. United started the match playing a 4-1-4-1 formation, starting the second in a 3-5-2 formation, which Mourinho will most likely play against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in just over a week’s time. The Portuguese manager will be pleased with the performance, the second half being much better than the first as he gets his side ready to face Sampdoria in Dublin on Wednesday evening, the last pre-season match of the summer before competitive football starts.

After the match, United manager Jose Mourinho spoke about various things he saw throughout the match, starting with his overall thoughts, saying:

“I am satisfied. I thank Ronny [Deila] and these boys [Valerenga] for the game they gave us and I thank the ref because they had a very professional training session. Of course, Champions League referees are top quality referees. It was good for us because it was a good pitch and the opponents were very well organised, trying to play from the back. After the United States, and matches where we were struggling with jet lag, it was a good game for us where I could play each player for 45 minutes. Now, with one more step, a little rest and the Sampdoria match and then the official season starts and, until now, we have no injuries. So let’s see if we can start the official season with this positive situation.”

Mourinho also spoke about Romelu Lukaku’s third goal for the club after failing to score in two matches during the tour of the United States of America, saying:

“It’s nice. You know strikers, they like to score goals. It’s not important for me but probably it’s important for him. It’s important for his confidence and for his self-esteem. Strikers like to score goals; us managers, many times we are happy with them even when they don’t score, because of the way they participate in the team organisation and game plans. But, for them, to score their goals is always important.”

Finally, Mourinho also spoke about the progress of new central defender, Victor Lindelof, saying:

“Step by step. Benfica is a giant club, I always think that players coming from Benfica come mentally ready because it is a big club and the responsibility to play for them makes players ready. But the Portuguese league is different and has different qualities. Benfica is one of the dominant teams, so he’s more used to playing with the ball than without the ball, so he needs his time and we are going to give him his time to develop. Such a young player needs time. Manchester United is a huge club with huge responsibility; the Premier League is the same. So let’s give him time, but we’re happy with what he is doing, step by step.”

Goals: Marouane Fellaini 44′, Romelu Lukaku 47′, Scott McTominay 70′

Manchester United: Romero (J. Pereira 61), Darmian (Fosu-Mensah 46′), Bailly (Lindelof 46′), Jones (Smalling 46′), Blind (Mitchell 46′), Carrick (Tuanzebe 46′), Fellaini (Herrera 46′), Pogba (McTominay 61), Mata (A. Pereira 46′), Mkhitaryan (Martial 46′), Rashford (Lukaku 46′)

Pre-Season 2017 – Barcelona

Manchester United were beaten in Landover, Maryland but a resurgent Barcelona side who scored a solo goal through Neymar, his third of the Catalan clubs pre-season tour this summer. United started a strong lineup and played well throughout, but just could not create anything. Defensively, United did well at times, but creatively, things need to change. This side, against one of the best in the world, looked short of player to light the pitch up. Romelu Lukaku played well, Paul Pogba seemed determined and Marcus Rashford tried to get something going, with United falling short of the mark. It’s only pre-season, fitness is the main thing, not winning.

Jose Mourinho started a strong side against Barcelona with David De Gea in goal, Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Daley Blind in defence. Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba in midfield, Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard all playing behind Romelu Lukaku. United kicked the game off with Barcelona gaining possession of the ball and going on the attack before United won back possession and made the clearance. United then went on the attack through Rashford, crossing into Lukaku, who failed to threaten the Dutch goalkeeper. Neymar then attacked for Barcelona, forcing a save out of De Gea.

In side the sixth minute Lionel Messi, put forward by Neymar could have scored but De Gea made the save, not grasping the ball, but getting to it. A minute or so later Barcelona had another chance with De Gea saving again giving the Catalan team a corner. De Gea made a save from the corner too, thwarting the Catalans so far at the start of the match. In the eleventh minute of the match after some good play by Lukaku, Blind got forward hoping to set the Belgian striker up for a goal but the ball was intercepted. United were giving as much as they had received so far in this match, which is a good sign.

Messi had a shot on goal with some quick play in the twelfth minute but the Argentinian’s shot was wide of the target, luckily for United. Last season Messi scored 54 goals in 52 matches, which is some good for. A minute later Lukaku had a long-range shot on goal, which was straight down the throat of Jasper Cillessen, a good attempt from United’s new striker. Paul Pogba had a shot on goal from long-range also with Cillessen stretching to make the save. United are not afraid of this Barcelona side, which is a very good sign. Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a shot also, which was wide of the target.

United won a corner in the 17th minute of the match after Lingard took a shot which was deflected behind. United threatened from the corner with Lingard advancing to the left of the goal with Cillessen making the safe to thwart the Red Devils. Barcelona then went on the attack with United attempting to close them down, stopping the attack by giving away a throw-in. United got forward on the attack, running 60 yards with the ball but Sergio Busquets made the challenge, giving away a corner. Rashford took the corner, but it was cleared into United’s half, with them then pushing forward but Smalling was flagged for offside.

Messi won a free-kick for Barcelona in the 22nd minute of the match after it appeared that he was bundled over, seemingly making the best of the challenge to put his team in contention to threaten again. Messi took the free-kick and hit it straight into United’s wall. Lingard on the advance was then hacked down by Ivan Rakitic unnecessarily with United winning a free-kick. Barcelona then regained possession and the end-to-end play resumed after Luis Suarez took a dive. Lukaku broke forward again, not getting anything for his team. Pogba had another shot on goal, just seeing his effort go wide again.

Just before the half hour stage of the match, Barcelona were having more attacking play threatening United with De Gea making a few saves and United getting the better of the attacks. From the corner, Barcelona were maintaining their shot passes to create space in United’s attacking third keeping United on their toes. Barcelona seemed rusty as they were just not threatening enough, which will suit United well as a win inside 90 minutes will see the club clinch the International Champions Cup, which they won in 2014 in Louis van Gaal’s first pre-season with the club. Barcelona took the lead in the 31st minute through Neymar, Valencia lost his balance in the box.

Barcelona seemed to toy with United after their opening goal, which was not the first time United had fallen behind during pre-season, Real Salt Lake took the lead in the second match on this tour. Barcelona are a much better side though. United have been giving as much as they got, at times, which as I said was a good sign. Barcelona won another free-kick in the 40th minute of the patch after Messi was fouled by Pogba. The Argentinian took the free-kick, which sailed over the crossbar. United got a credible attack going, sitting in the box, but the attack was closed down. Blind pulled Messi back, could have been booked, but wasn’t.

Suarez got forward in the 42nd minute, threatening to score Barcelona’s second goal, but De Gea got down to thwart the Uruguayan from finding a second goal for his club just before the end of the first half. United broke forward with two minutes of the half to play with Lukaku waiting in the box, making space and the ball was crossed in, missing the Belgian and Lingard trying to chase the ball which went out of play. Another attack for United, another one which saw them fail to really threaten Barcelona. Pogba was determined to get something from this game. United had another chance with Blind crossing, just a bit too soon for Lukaku. 1-0 Barca.

At the start of the second half Barcelona made ten changes with United making a five with Sergio Romero replacing De Gea, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly replacing Smalling and Lindelof in the centre of defence, Matteo Darmian replacing Blind at left-back and Marouane Fellaini replacing Carrick. United had a lot to do in order to get back into the game as despite all the changes and the fact the game had fizzled out a little, the understudies (with some experience) for Barcelona in this match were just as threatening, just not as polished. Valencia tried to start something for United, but the attacking play was closed down quickly by Barca.

Around the hour mark things were not going too well for United with Lingard holding his groin unable to continue, which was a shame after a bright pre-season. Anthony Martial replaced Lingard and Mourinho made another change with Andreas Pereira replacing Mkhitaryan. United were struggling to put an attack together with Barcelona seeming much fresher and ready to thwart chances created by their opposition. United need two goals to win the International Champions Cup, which seems a long way from possibility right now. Martial had a chance in the 65th minute, seeing his effort off target.

Barcelona had a chance at the other end with Romeo making the save to thwart the Catalan side. Bailly seemed to be caught flat footed at a moment whereby he could have possible done more to regain possession of challenge the attacking player. In the 70th minute Pereira had a chance to score, but it cleared the crossbar, unfortunately for United, who really need to get back into the match. United had an opportunity to score again, creating space in Barca’s defence but the shot was played straight into the goalkeeper, who was having a good game. United had another shot minutes later, this time from Pogba, still not threatening enough to get into the match.

Barcelona won a corner, but Romero caught the ball inside his area sending United on the attack. United had started to do more to get something going, but Barca were seemingly looking to keep control of the match, keeping a clean sheet, which seemed possible at this moment in time. There was 15 minutes remaining for United to get back into the match. Andres Iniesta could have caused more damage, his attempt did not cause problems for United. Martial had some good play on the left flank, taking his defender on, but his tough was heavy and the ball went out of play. The attendance inside the FedEx Field was 80,162, much better the Sunday’s match.

Marouane Fellaini was booked in the 83rd minute fo the match for a foul, perhaps being lucky to still be on the pitch after elbowing his opposition, only coming on at the start of the second half. Axel Tuanzebe replaced Valencia in the 84th minute of the match with the 19-year-old getting a few mont minutes of pre-season action, albeit playing at right-back. In the 90th minute Rashford and Lucas Digne went down on the right flank with the United striker seemingly in pain, but continuing. Barcelona got the free-kick, not doing anything of note but United still needed a goal to level the score. Rashford was flagged offside on the attack Four minutes added on.

In the first minute of added time, Barcelona seemed to handle the ball in the area, close to the referee but nothing was given. On the replay, it was accidental. United needed to go for broke, looking for that goal which would take the match to penalties, like the one against Real Madrid on Sunday. It was a good work out for the players, which is what pre-season is about, not winning pointless silverware, but it would have been nice. Bailly won a free-kick for United with just over a minute to play, it being hacked away back into United’s half. Tuanzebe started something with Martial not shooting and being dispossessed. Rashford had a chance too, off target.

United lost the match 1-0 which will end their pre-season tour of the United States of America. They still have two pre-season matches against Valerenga in Oslo and Sampdoria in Dublin, also the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid in Macedonia, so plenty of time to get the fitness levels to where they need to be, perhaps even a new face or two before the three matches have been played.

Manchester United: De Gea (Romero 46′); Valencia (Tuanzebe 84′), Smalling (Bailly 46′), Lindelof (Jones 46′), Blind (Darmian 46′); Carrick (Fellaini 46′), Pogba; Lingard (Martial 63′), Mkhitaryan (A. Pereira 63′), Rashford; Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: J. Pereira; Fosu-Mensah, Mitchell; McTominay

Pre-Season 2017 – Real Madrid

Manchester United and Real Madrid drew 1-1 after 90 minutes with Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard combining well to take first blood at the end of the first half of the match. In the second half, around the 69th minute, Victor Lindelof made a howler giving away a penalty which Casemiro converted levelling the score. Marouane Fellaini had a chance to win the match for United, with his shot off target. The match went to a penalty shootout to find the eventual winner with United winning 2-1 with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Daley Blind scoring United’s penalties.

Jose Mourinho made nine changes to his starting XI ahead of the match with Real Madrid in at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Sergio Romero, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Matteo Darmian, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, Andreas Pereira, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial all start. Juan Mata misses out with an ankle injury sustained in the 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake earlier in the week. United and Real Madrid both started on the front foot, looking to get the better of their opposition. Both teams had credible chances with Phil Jones and Sergio Romeo stopping Real Madrid from scoring.

United started to take advantage of their opposition around the seven-minute mark with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial using their pace to get the better of the Spanish team with the Frenchman getting a good shot on goal which was thwarted by Keylor Navas. Both teams were getting the ball but doing nothing with it. United had pressured the Spanish champions a few times, the last with Marouane Fellaini trying to get something for United by Marcelo took him on, using his head to keep the ball, literally, getting the better of the big Belgian midfielder.

It was starting to become end-to-end football with both teams attacking, in periods of the match, but nothing getting through and the ball ending up back at the other end of the pitch. Both teams were playing well and considering this was the first pre-season match for the Spanish side, they were giving United a good game, which in the heat in California would give them a good work out ahead of the new season. Timothy Fosu-Mensah was playing well against Gareth Bale, so far getting the better of the Welshman for most of his threats on United’s right flank. At the half hour mark, the match was stopped for a water break, which was much-needed for some.

After the break things started to take off in the match with chances at either end. Anthony Martial had a chance to break forward, getting into the box and laying off the pass to the other flank. Fosu-Mensah had the ball and tried to pass it into the box, which Madrid regaining possession and thwarting United’s attack. Minutes later Jesse Lingard had a chance to break the deadlock, firing just wide of the mark. Madrid had a chance with about two minutes of the half left with Lucas Vasquez offside and being flagged as being so. Jones had him covered though. Luca Modric played the ball into United box, Romero missed the ball and Bailly made the clearance.

Real Madrid won a corner inside the last minute of the half with Toni Kroos taking it, United won possession by two players combining to make the clearance with United trying to break forward but ending up back inside their own half. United took the lead in the seconds before the break with Anthony Martial showing his skill on the left, cutting into the box and passing across the face of the goal with Lingard making the simple tap-in to put United ahead. Real Madrid had the chance to equalise just before the break but it was flagged for offside. So far so good for United, 1-0 in the lead at the break.

At the start of the second half Jose Mourinho made eight changes with David De Gea, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Daley Blind, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Romelu Lukaku all replacing Romero, Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Jones, Carrick, Pereira, Lingard and Rashford. United started to try and restart the match after all the changes, which seems to make the second half duller with players trying to get into the match. Ander Herrera was taken off seven minutes into the second half with Scott McTominay replacing him, which was a blow for the Spanish midfielder who was looking to get more minutes in this match.

In the 62nd minute of the match Marouane Fellaini, one of three players who started the match headed over the Real Madrid crossbar as United looked for that elusive second goal which would all but confirm the victory for United. In the 69th minute of the match, United defender Victor Lindelof gave away a penalty for taking out Theo Hernandez, who was taken out moments before by Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Casemiro took the penalty and David De Gea could not get to it. 1-1 and everything to take from the game. This could go to penalties yet if United do not find a winner.

Seven minutes from time United could have found the winner they needed through Fellaini, whose shot was not on target, not even at risk of causing any damage to United’s opposition. In the dying minutes of the match, the youthful Real Madrid side were shooting from distance and generally trying to find the winning goal after being played back into the match with the penalty. The match was heading to penalties to find a winner. It was 1-1 after 90 minutes. Martial took the first penalty which was off target completely. David De Gea saved Madrid’s penalty, 0-0 after one each.

Scott McTominay took United’s second penalty, getting his shot on target but Kiko Casilla made the save to thwart the youngster. Oscar Rodriguez took Madrid’s second penalty with De Gea making his second save of the shootout. Henrikh Mkhitaryan took United’s third penalty, beating Casilla to put United ahead. Real Madrid scored their third penalty making it 1-1. Victor Lindelof took United’s fourth penalty, aiming straight for the goalkeeper’s legs, poor penalty. Madrid missed their fourth penalty, still 1-1 after four penalties each. Daley Blind took United’s fifth penalty, straight down the middle finding the back of the net 2-1 to United. Casemiro missed Madrid fifth and United take the win.

Goals: Jesse Lingard 45+1′

Assists: Anthony Martial 45+1′

Manchester United: Romero (De Gea 46′); Fosu-Mensah (Blind 46′), Bailly (Lindelof 46′), Jones (Smalling 46′), Darmian (Valencia 77′); Carrick (Herrera 46′(McTominay 52′), Fellaini, A. Pereira (Pogba 46′); Lingard (Mkhitaryan 46′), Rashford (Lukaku 46′), Martial

Substitutes Not Used: J. Pereira; Mitchell, Tuanzebe

Pre-Season 2017 – Manchester City

Manchester United beat Manchester City 2-0 in the first Manchester derby to be played outside of the United Kingdom. It was an end-to-end match for much of the first half but Romelu Lukaku broke the deadlock in the 37th minute after a through ball from Paul Pogba. Two minutes later Henrikh Mkhitaryan set Marcus Rashford up to double United’s lead, scoring his third pre-season goal in three matches. The second half saw Lukaku hit the far post and Pogba his the side netting, which were the highlights of the half. United did what they needed to do, win in Houston.

Jose Mourinho made a few changes from the victory over Real Salt Lake with David De Gea returning in goal, Antonio Valencia, sent off in the last match starting again, Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling partnering in the centre of defence, Daley Blind playing at left-back, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba partnering in midfield, Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard all playing behind Romelu Lukaku. United started off well getting a shot on goal through Herrera in the third minute of the match with Ederson making the save to thwart the Spaniard from finding the back of the net.

United looked bright on the right-hand side causing many problems for City throughout the opening minutes of the match. United twice had a shot on goal, both off target with City not really being threatened. In the seventh minute, Raheem Sterling fired a cross into United’s box for Sergio Aguero to find a goal but United thwarted the cross, making the clearance. Seconds later De Gea had to make a save to thwart City from taking the lead. Ederson made a brave save in the ninth minute after Blind crossed into the box for Lukaku with the Brazilian making the save to stop the Belgian from scoring.

In the 12th minute City nearly got through on goal through Phil Foden, whose touch let him down. United made the clearance giving away a corner, which amounted to nothing for City. It was end-to-end football throughout the opening stages with both teams putting suitable pressure on the other to try and take first blood in the match, nothing happening to make that happen thus far. United won a corner through Rashford, who burst up the left flank to try and create something, City clearing the ball, which came to nothing for United with the Red Devils still in possession of the ball and advancing into the final third again.

United pressured City in the 18th minute of the match with Rashford, Blind and Mkhitaryan advancing. Rashford got the better of his man after some good interplay, firing a shot, which was wide of the target. Rashford was fouled just outside of the area with nothing given by the referee. City then had the ball in United’s final third, pressing with accurate passing to gain some space to take advantage of United, which did not happen on that play. Mkhitaryan tried to get United ahead in the 21st minute, but City recovered possession. The Armenian tried to play a pass to Lukaku, which was intercepted.

Valencia on the right flank kept the ball in play, putting a cross into the box, which United retained passing out in the middle third with Herrera firing a long-range effort goalwards which was saved by Ederson once again. At the other end, City had a chance with De Gea thwarting the fizzing effort on goal. City then won a corner with United intercepting and advancing with Kyle Walker gaining possession from Rashford. United won another free-kick after Mkhitaryan was taken out 30 yards from goal. Pogba hitting it on target, Ederson catching the ball thwarting United’s effort once again. Ederson is better than Claudio Bravo, not that it is a tough feat.

United, after some brilliant defending managed to thwart City after some pressure with 15 minutes of the half remaining. City seemed to get the better of United at times, with United also getting the better of their opposition with end-to-end play throughout the first half. City pressured United again with Smalling tracking back, slipping and nearly gifting City the first goal of the match, but De Gea cleared the threat before making another save. In the 37th minute of the match, Lukaku scored the first goal after making the run, beating the keeper who was advancing from his area and scoring from a tight angle, assisted by Pogba with a through ball.

Rashford scored minutes later doubling United’s lead after Mkhitaryan setting the teenager up for his third goal of pre-season, showing City just who he is right now. United were flying but there was a long way to go yet. City maybe had a better spell during the first half with United doing what was required to get the two goals. Foden had a shot on goal in the 41st minute with De Gea making the save, giving away a corner which was caught by the Spaniard. Yaya Toure was booked in the 42nd minute for a challenge on Mkhitaryan. United on the advance again before the break having a shot which was kept out by the Brazilian goalkeeper. 2-0 to United at the break.

At the start of the second half City made some wholesale changes to their team with it being their first pre-season match of the summer, United bringing on Sergio Romero for De Gea, Lindelof, Smalling and Blind being replaced by Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Matteo Darmian. It was a scrappy start to the second half with the changes made, especially by City who changed a lot of their team. United were still doing well 2-0 up and seemingly looking for more with Rashford earning a United corner with what seemed like a cross into Lukaku, which could have been an attempt on goal. Lukaku headed from the corner, wide of the mark. Unlucky for United.

In the 53rd minute of the match Lukaku had another shot on goal, beating the keeper but hitting the far post. City were immediately on the ball and pressuring but United won the ball back in their own box to clear the danger. Eliaquim Mangala was booked for pulling Rashford down on the advance, which saw United pressure City with their possession. City won back the ball and tried to pressure themselves, United winning the ball in their own half, passing back to Romero who played the ball up the pitch with Gabriel Jesus trying to catch him off guard and find a goal to get City back into the game, which did not happen.

In the 62nd minute Jose Mourinho made further changes with Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial replacing Herrera, Mkhitaryan and Rashford. In the 64th minute, Pogba had a shot on goal, hitting the side netting, which was unfortunate as United dominated their cross-city rivals. United hit the post and the side netting in the second half so far. United seemed to be doing well closing City down when they tried to advance with Carrick and Fellaini trying to control the midfield, which seemed to be working after United made three more changes. City tried to make a break on the right flank with Jones blocking the cross giving a corner.

In the 72nd minute, United on the advance through Lingard won a corner after the cross was deflected behind. Martial took the corner with City clearing and United gaining possession again before City won the ball back. City then created an opportunity to score, Romero getting a touch then City trying to chip the Argentinian, which was over the crossbar. In the 77th minute, Pogba won a corner and Mourinho made two more changes with Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Andreas Pereira replacing Valencia and Lingard. United could have scored a third goal after the changes with Jones through, missing and Lukaku finding the back of the net, albeit offside.

Inside the final ten minutes of the match, United were still 2-0 with City yet to cause any damage. The signs were positive for United, but City’s lack of match fitness may have been the main reason, let alone the changes made at half time and throughout the second half. Still, the third win on the run for United in their pre-season tour, which means nothing other than fitness and confidence levels at the end of the day. United were playing well, which was good to see – perhaps it will run into the new season and the player will benefit and start the season running, which will be needed to challenge for the Premier League title.

In the 85th minute, City had another chance to find a goal with Romero standing in the way, giving them a corner, which came to nothing with United gaining possession again and running forward. Pogba won a throw-in deep in the City half which was passed over to the other side of the pitch with Darmian losing the ball with Walker on the advance and City keeping possession just outside the final third. City were probing for a goal, even if it was just one. United were so far doing what they needed to do, pressure the opposition, even off the ball. Bailly made a clearance giving away a throw-in inside the last few minutes of the match.

It was a good result for United with both Lukaku and Pogba playing 90 minutes for the first time this summer, United played well and did what they needed to do earlier in the match scoring two quick goals and stunning their opposition. Three wins on the tour for United as they prepare to take on Real Madrid in Santa Clara on Sunday before travelling to Washington DC to face Barcelona next week. The US leg of the pre-season tour is over half way through with Valerenga in Oslo and Sampdoria in Dublin also to play before United take on Real Madrid again in Macedonia to contest the UEFA Super Cup, the only trophy Carrick has not won with United.

Goals: Romelu Lukaku 37′, Marcus Rashford 39′

Assists: Paul Pogba 37′, Henrikh Mkhitaryan 39′

Manchester United: De Gea (Romero 46′); Valencia (Fosu-Mensah 77′), Lindelof (Bailly 46′), Smalling (Jones 46′), Blind (Darmian 46′); Herrera (Fellaini 62), Pogba; Rashford (Martial 62′), Mkhitaryan (Carrick 62′), Lingard (A. Pereira 77′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: J. Pereira; Mitchell, Tuanzebe; McTominay

Bookings: Daley Blind 45′

Pre-Season 2017 – Real Salt Lake

Manchester United beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 at the Rio Tinto Stadium in their second pre-season match of their tour of the United States of America. United were 1-0 down in the 23rd minute of the match through Luis Silva. United equalised through Henrikh Mkhitaryan, assisted by Jesse Lingard in the 29th minute and less than ten minutes later, Romelu Lukaku scored his first United goal, assisted by the Armenian. The half time changes dulled the match and Antonio Valencia was sent off for a challenge on Sebastian Saucedo with United down to ten men. There was nothing to write home about in the second half of the match.

Jose Mourinho made some changes from the LA Galaxy match with Joel Pereira starting in goal, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Daley Blind in defence, Scott McTominay, Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba in midfield with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard flaking new striker Romelu Lukaku. Mourinho will change the team at half-time again, giving his team equal minutes – give or take. Real Salt Lake may change their team three times during the match with a big game coming up. United will be looking to continue their good start to pre-season ahead of matches against Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

United started well and had a shot on goal inside the opening minute of the match through Fosu-Mensah, which was off target. United regained possession from the goal kick, not pressuring their opposition like they did at the weekend. United, on the ball, got forward again through Blind and Fosu-Mensah, passing to Lingard, who was offside. The home side had their first shot inside the sixth minute of the match, hitting the side netting of Pereira’s goal. United got the ball back and created an attacking play with McTominay’s shot on goal wide of the mark. A good start by both teams, nothing to separate the two sides so far though.

Real Salt Lake pressured United around the tenth minute using their pace to break through and threaten, but no goalscoring opportunities were for the taking just yet. It was end-to-end football so far, neither side getting anything special to break the deadlock. United were being outpaced in the first 15 minutes of the match with many breaks being made by the home side, nothing getting the better of United. Pereira was challenged again inside a few minutes, grasping hold of the ball at the second time of asking. United had a break with Fosu-Mensah breaking forward and crossing into Lukaku, who could not get to the cross inside the box, the opportunity wasted.

The home side got another chance in front of United’s goal, this time with Lingard putting in a great last-ditch challenge to thwart the attempt and protect Pereira’s goal. United have been tested a few times, weathering the storm thus far into the match. Real Salt Lake opened the scoring in the 23rd minute of the match with Luis Silva scoring the goal. United were behind for the first time this pre-season with a lot to do in order to get back into the match. United levelled through Mkhitaryan in the 29th minute of the match, assisted by Lingard, just before the home side made eleven changes in the friendly.

United took the lead in the 38th minute of the match through none other than Romelu Lukaku with his first goal for Manchester United with Mkhitaryan assisting this time. United continued the attacking after the team change by Real Salt Lake with Mkhitaryan having a shot on goal a minute of so later, being flagged for offside. Lukaku had a chance soon after, missing the target but using his pace and power to get the better of his opposition. The first half ended with United overcoming the deficit and scoring twice to take the lead.

At the start of the second half, United made eleven changes with Sergio Romero, Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian, Ander Herrera, Andreas Pereira, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial replaced the starting XI from the match. United started the half well and as would be expected, slowly with the changes made and the fact they needed to get into the match. Andreas Pereira has looked lively on and off the ball. Just before the hour mark in the match, Juan Mata was fouled and seemed to receive a knock. His game was over almost as soon as it started with Demetri Mitchell replacing him in the 59th minute.

In the 63rd minute the home side had a chance the level the match but the shot on goal was stuck hard and did not threaten Romero. In the 68th minute Antonio Valencia was sent off for a challenge on Sebastian Saucedo, which was not a good one but perhaps not worthy of a red card. The captains armband was given to Smalling with United down to ten men and Mitchell was now playing at left-back rather than right-wing and Darmian at right-back. Real Salt Lake made more changes after the sending off, now looking to get back into the game playing against ten United players. In the 72nd minute Fellaini had a chance on goal with a header with a cross from Rashford, heading off target.

In the 73rd minute the home side had a chance to get back on level terms, missing the target with the shot but it was a warning sign for United, who needed to get back into the game, seemingly doing nothing since the half time changes. United had the chance to get another goal with an attack in the 77th minute of the match with some good interplay between Rashford and Martial, but the attempt was thwarted by the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper. Smalling could have scored a headed attempt moments later, again being thwarted by the goalkeeper. Sergio Romero nearly dropped a clanger for United with a clearance luckily being cleared before the opposition got something from the game.

In the 85th minute of the match Martial had the chance to get a third goal for United, his shot being sent over the crossbar but pressuring the opposition at the same time. It was a good physical workout for United with Real Salt Lake not rolling over, giving them a game, which will have been needed especially ahead of a pre-season battle with Manchester City later this week, which will be a tough encounter with Jose Mourinho going head-to-head with Pep Guardiola. Romero made a good save to deny the home side from equalising in the last minute of the match.

Axel Tuanzebe replaced Martial just before stoppage time in the match. Darmian received a knock in the last moments of the match, which did not look good. United took the victory 2-1, getting themselves in good stead as they head into the tougher opposition part of the pre-season tour.

Goals: Henrikh Mkhitaryan 29′, Romelu Lukaku 38′

Assists: Jesse Lingard 29′, Henrikh Mkhitaryan 38′

Manchester United: J. Pereira (Romero 46′); Fosu-Mensah (Valencia 46′ s/o 68′), Lindelof (Bailly 46′), Jones (Smalling 46′), Blind (Darmian 46′); McTominay (Herrera 46′), Carrick (A. Pereira 46′), Pogba (Fellaini 46′); Mkhitaryan (Mata 46′ (Mitchell 59′), Lukaku (Rashford 46′), Lingard (Martial 46′ (Tuanzebe 90′)

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea

Pre-Season 2017 – LA Galaxy

Manchester United beat LA Galaxy 5-2 with Marcus Rashford scoring a brace, his first goal inside the first three minutes of the match. Marouane Fellaini also scored in the first half with Jesse Lingard assisting twice, Juan Mata also assisting. It was a game of two halves for United though with the entire XI being changed for the second half with Jose Mourinho looking to give all of his fit players a chance to impress and gain match fitness. Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the fourth goal of the match, assisted by Anthony Martial, who also scored the fifth goal, with Timothy Fosu-Mensah assisting for the Frenchman. The Galaxy scored twice in the second half to peg back United’s 5-0 lead to a 5-2 victory.

Jose Mourinho has tried out a new formation with his side in the first pre-season match of the summer; 3-5-2. David De Gea started in goal with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, and Daley Blind in defence. Antonio Valencia and Jesse Lingard were utilised as wing-backs with Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini playing in midfield. Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford were the forward players. Mourinho confirmed that the entire starting XI would be changed in the second half, his team seemingly getting equal amounts of time on the pitch throughout the first pre-season match. LA Galaxy started a second-string XL, being halfway through their season.

United started off well with the experimental formation, which was played a few times last season. The Red Devils looked pretty good on the ball going forward but were offside with LA Galaxy winning a free-kick. Jesse Lingard won the ball on the left flank, tipping it to Marcus Rashford at the edge of the box, scoring a goal just over two minutes into the match. A great start for United. In the 15th minute, Juan Mata tried to chip the keeper from the edge of the box with the Galaxy keeper getting a touch on the ball to deny the Spaniard from scoring United’s second goal of the match. Great start for United who were dominating the match so far.

United continued to dominate the match and in the 20th minute, Mata played a perfect pass into Rashford who buried his second goal of pre-season with United now leading 2-0, making this LA Galaxy side look like amateurs. United have started their summer pre-season matches in good stead, which will impress Mourinho who will be looking for this to continue as it will build the confidence up throughout the matches played ahead of the Premier League opener in a months time against West Ham United at Old Trafford. United did not seem afraid to shoot from range, which was great to see.

After just 26 minutes, United were 3-0 up through Marouane Fellaini with Lingard setting the Belgian midfielder up, his second of the match so far. United looked likely to run away with this match in the bag halfway through the first half. In the 28th minute, Lingard tried a curler into the top far corner of the net, missing the target, unfortunately. Perhaps this pre-season, supporters will see what Lingard brings to the team, as that has been shown in this match so far, but many will suggest it is only a second-string LA Galaxy team, which is pathetic. Yes, he’s not a fans favourite, but his work rate is immense and this could well be the season he becomes a star.

Rashford had the chance for a hat-trick in the 34th minute of the match with his close-range shot whistling over the crossbar. United are not letting their opposition get any space with United passing well in the attacking third, picking the team apart and playing to their strengths. Many saw this lacklustre starting XI as a problem, but it is far from that at this moment in the match. United had another chance at goal with Antonio Valencia on the right flank receiving the ball, passing inside the box, getting the ball back and crossing in front of the face of the goal with Fellaini receiving and United failing to get a credible shot on goal. Galaxy were panicking a little.

In the 40th minute of the match, Rashford was on the ball rushing into the box and he passed to Mata, whose shot was thwarted. United could have been 4-0 up but will settle for being 3-0 up with five minutes left in the first half. United will change the entire side after the break, which could see United dominate even more with Romelu Lukaku looking for a debut goal. United scored a fourth goal through Chris Smalling, but offside was given with the Galaxy let off a little there. Rashford had another run into the box, one-on-one with the goalkeeper, shooting for his hat-trick with the keeper thwarting his effort. United led 3-0 at the break.

At the start of the second half, Mourinho made eleven changes with Joel Pereira, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Matteo Darmian, Paul Pogba, Andreas Pereira, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku all coming on for United. In the 49th minute of the match, Lukaku had the chance to score his debut goal after a Galaxy player made the mistake. The attempt was thwarted by the Galaxy goalkeeper though. In the 53rd minute, Lukaku got another chance, winning the ball in the final third, retaining it through his strength and having a shot, which was off target.

Anthony Martial had a great chance to score United’s fourth goal in the 59th minute of the match, his shot was just over the crossbar though, but it was a great effort from distance. United had another chance to score a fourth with Henrikh Mkhitaryan passing to Lukaku, then the Belgian passing back to the Armenian, whose shot on goal was off target. Matteo Darmian had a shot on goal too, which took a deflection and won United a corner. Andreas Pereira took the corner, putting the ball into the box with Victor Lindelof waiting to strike, hitting the ball over the crossbar. United were still in control of the match, despite not scoring, so far, in the second half.

United scored their fourth goal of the game through Mkhitaryan who cool effort was assisted by Martial. United were 4-0 up and cruising to their first victory of the pre-season tour. Martial scored United’s fifth goal which was assisted by Fosu-Mensah, who chased down the ball on the right flank, passing into the Frenchman, who found the back of the net. United were 5-0 up and starting to humiliate the struggling MLS Western Conference side. Martial, after some good interplay, attempted to score United sixth goal with a curling effort, which was thwarted by the goalkeeper.

LA Galaxy scored in the 79th minute with Joel Pereira conceding a goal, which he could do nothing to prevent with Giovani Dos Santos scoring the goal. It was now 5-1 to United, who will be disappointed to concede a goal in what was starting to look like a rout. Galaxy had the chance to score a second goal with Pereira making a great save to deny them. Mkhitaryan was injured in the box during the attempt on goal, receiving treatment on the pitch, seeming alright to continue the match. Martial had another chance for a goal, beating his man and his shot going wide of the mark. Fosu-Mensah was replaced in the 85th minute of the match with Demetri Mitchell coming on, switching with Darmian, who moved to right-back.

Galaxy scored their second goal in the 88th minute of the match, which seemed to take a deflection, Dos Santos the goalscorer. It was now 5-2 to United, which will take away a lot of the work which was put in throughout the first half. Pereira was unlucky to concede twice in his 45-minute outing, which was not all on him. United will take away the victory, which will spur the team on ahead of their next match on Monday (early hours Tuesday morning in the United Kingdom) against Real Salt Lake. Lukaku did not score his debut goal, but he played well, which was encouraging. Onwards to the next match in Utah.

Goals: Marcus Rashford 3′, 20′, Marouane Fellaini 26′, Henrikh Mkhitaryan 67′, Anthony Martial 72′

Assists: Jesse Lingard 3′, 26′, Juan Mata 20′, Anthony Martial 67′, Timothy Fosu-Mensah 72′

Manchester United: De Gea (J. Pereira 46′); Jones (Bailly 46′), Smalling (Lindelof, 46′), Blind (Tuanzebe 46′); Valencia (Fosu-Mensah 46′ (Mitchell 85′), Herrera (Mkhitaryan 46′), Carrick (A. Pereira 46′), Fellaini (Pogba 46;), Lingard (Darmian 46′); Mata (Lukaku 46′), Rashford (Martial 46′)

copyright: JW