Ratings: Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen both impressed in pre-season defeat to Atletico; Fred sent off

A pre-season defeat is not the end of the world - fitness is the key during the summer

Manchester United were beaten 1-0 by Atletico Madrid in their penultimate pre-season match of the summer at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo, Norway. United had more than a few chances to open the scoring in the first half of the match with the attacking players needing to do more. Joao Felix score three minutes from the end of the match to get the win.

United started well against Atletico, on the press early on. Marcus Rashford had a shot saved in the third minute of the match after Bruno Fernandes provided him with the ball. Just a minute later Anthony Martial saw his shot miss the target after Diogo Dalot did the work to provide him with the ball.

In the seventh minute Harry Maguire saw his header saved with Fernandes playing the ball into him. Victor Lindelof then saw his header miss the target after Tyrell Malacia played the ball into him. United were having a lot of chances on goal but nothing to put the pressure on the Spanish side at this point.

Angel Correa missed a shot on goal in the 15th minute of the match as Atletico started to impose themselves in the match. Just two minutes later Martial had another opportunity after Fred found him but his shot was blocked. Thomas Lemar was booked in the 23rd minute after a foul – the first player in the book this afternoon.

Atletico then sought to get themselves into the match seeking an opening goal with Marcos Llorente shooting on goal only for it to be blocked. Fred was the second name in the book for a foul, which seemed a bit harsh considering. Reinildo Mandava was then booked. Fernandes then tried a through ball into Maguire, but he was offside.

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United then found themselves in a position of power on the attack, The threat was cleared into the air with Scott McTominay jumping up just in front of Jan Oblak to win the ball to keep the threat. There was then a skirmish with Atletico players upset that McTominay did as they would do at the other end of the pitch.

Both McTominay and Oblak were booked after that with the Atletico goalkeeper upset that he was shown a card. He was lucky it was not a red card for the kick out when he was on the floor. Atletico are such a bad mannered team, thought by Diego Simeone, who was hardly a clean cut player in hims time – France 98 showed that.

Rashford had a shot on goal in the 43rd minute of the match after Fernandes found him on the attack. The shot was saved easily by Oblak. Anthony Elanga then had a shot on goal in the 45th minute after Rashford played the ball into him. Once again United’s effort on goal was saved. They would need to be more clinical in the second half.

Geoffrey Kondogbia had a chance on goal in the second minute of added time at the end of the first half. His header did not really do much damage, being off target. Yannick Carasco played the ball into the midfielder in what was the final chance of the first half. Both managers will be pleased with what they have seen in this match.

It was 0-0 at the end of the first half with Atletico likely to be making more changes than United throughout the match with them being so early into their pre-season campaign. Erik ten Hag wants to let as many players as he van play 90 minutes in this match, which is understandable considering United start their Premier League campaign next Sunday.

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At the start of the second half there were no substitution for either team. Rashford had another attempt on goal in the 47th minute, missing the target from 35-yards. Matheus Cunha had a shot on goal four minutes later with Kondogbia finding him with the ball but the shot was blocked – causing no problems for United. Maguire was booked in the 54th minute.

Atletico made nine changes with Sergio Diez Roldan, Saul Niguez, Alvaro Morata, Rodrigo de Paul, Koke, Axel Witsel, Daniel Wass, Joao Felix and Antoine Griezmann all coming on to seek to win this match for Atletico. In the 62nd minute, Fernandes put pressure on Oblak, who eventually made the save to deny the Portuguese midfielder.

Niguez then had a chance on goal in the 68th minute with Felix finding him with the ball but his shot was not on target or a danger for United. In the 69th minute Ten Hag made a double substitution with Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek replacing Martial and McTominay. Eriksen got straight on it and showed his class with the ball.

De Paul had a chance in the 73rd minute after Griezmann found him with a cross but the attempt was saved by David De Gea. A minute later, Malacia had a chance on goal after Fernandes found him with a headed pass, but the Dutchman’s strike was off target. Maguire then had a headed chance in the 75th minute from an Eriksen corner, but he was off target.

Ten Hag made his third substitution with Facundo Pellistri replacing Elanga in the 76th minute with United still seeking a goal in this match. They have had the best chances in this match but have been unlucky with their finishing and Oblak making the saves that he had made so far in the match.

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Ten Hag will have been happy with what he saw from his team in this match, in terms of fitness and the ability on show here. This is all about fitness and progression of fitness to get ready for the new season in a week’s time. United had a few good chances in this match, but needed to find a way to score those chances.

It was a pretty lacklustre second half in the late stages with substitutes changing the tempo of the match, with Atletico at an advantage based on the players they have in the second half. In the 86th minute Felix, assisted by Morata opened the scoring in this match handing United their first defeat under Ten Hag.

It was not a problem though. It is meaningless. Atletico are one dirty club though, no wonder they are despised around Europe. Not one of the players understand what sportsmanship is. Fred got sent off in added time for a slight challenge which the Atletico player pushed for by going down. It was his second yellow card.

Ten Hag then made a fourth substitution with James Garner replacing Pellistri in added time. It was over through, United had lost their first pre-season match. There will be some so-called supporters of the club on Twitter moaning about that defeat as if it meant something. It is a shame there is a section of supporters that are so reactionary.

United will fly back to Manchester ahead of their final pre-season match at Old Trafford on Sunday, a week before then open their Premier League campaign against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Theatre of Dreams. Many of the players who have played in this match will not likely be involved against Rayo Vallecano.

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Player Ratings

David De Gea: He did not make al that many saves against his former club but he played out from the back well, at times. He denied Cunha after rushing from his line, showing great awareness which was good to see. He had next to no chance to saves Felix’s shot on goal at the end of the match. ★★★★★★

Diogo Dalot: I don’t think he saw all that much of the ball, but what he did get, he was positive with. His defensive duties were done well but attacking was what he did more of, showing himself as a threat going forward. He allowed Felix a but too much space which ended up in him opened the scoring at the end of the match. ★★★★★

Harry Maguire: This was one of his best performances of pre-season. He helped cut out Atletico’s attacking at times and was a threat from set-pieces in the Atletico box. He also made some vital blocks as he searched for his form from prior to Euro 2020 (held last summer) in which he was one of the standout performers at the club. ★★★★★★★

Victor Lindelof: He grew in confidence as the game went on. Made some vital tackles to recover the ball at times. Was not really tested by Atletico and despite him being one of the weak links in the defence, it was not all that present today. Atletico scored a lucky finish from outside the box which beat the keeper and defence. One of those things. ★★★★★★

Tyrell Malacia: He was brilliant in possession and seemed to be in the zone when playing out from the back. He will be the first choice left-back this season with Shaw not really putting in the same performances – but he will be expected to start on Sunday at Old Trafford and could change things a little. Malacia was a good signing. ★★★★★★★★

Fred: Booked in the first half and sent off in the dying minutes of the second. Despite that it was a good performance where the Brazilian showed his grit and determination. He made some good tackles and interceptions throughout the match with Atletico playing up for the referee – showing why they are seen as a dirty club. ★★★★★

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Scott McTominay: He was crucial in midfield in this match. Seeing him with his collar up was good. People seem to miss what he does because there is no output in terms of goals scored or assisted all that regularly. His passion, energy and tenacity is imperative for United, which is why he and Fred have been picked by many managers now. ★★★★★★

Marcus Rashford: His confidence seems to have been restored and he played a good part in this match. He made the intelligent runs but they did not pay off for United. It was a positive summer for him and he will now need to get ready for Brighton at Old Trafford next Sunday, where it will count for United and they will be expected to win. ★★★★★★

Bruno Fernandes: The Portuguese midfielder did not get the ball enough to have a great impact in this match. He provided some good passes for attacking players but in terms of control in this match, he needs to be doing more. United need all of their players to get stuck into the opposition and there will be no room for passengers. ★★★★★

Anthony Elanga: He found improvement from his last appearances in pre-season but still needs to do so much more. He has pace but everything else has not fallen into place. If United go into the season with just him, Rashford and Sancho as the experienced wingers and Martial as the main striker with nothing else – there will be problems. ★★★★★

Anthony Martial: I felt that he should have scored when he was through on goal, but those things happen. He has still had a positive impact in pre-season but he needs to delivery when the season starts. I don’t think he will play at Old Trafford on Sunday. He will need to be at the top of his game this season to deliver what United need. ★★★★★★★

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Substitutes

Christian Eriksen: Replaced Martial 69′. Made his debut. He almost instantly showed his ability and class. He could do something for United this season and the forwards will need to be ready to bang his deliveries into the back of the net. Hopefully he will get some time on the pitch at Old Trafford on Sunday? ★★★★★★★

Donny van de Beek: Replaced McTominay 69′. Ended up playing in the attacking role that he favours but did not get the ball enough to make an impact in the match. He did make some good runs though but that did not lead to anything for United. If he does not start producing, he will be on the bench again and it will be his fault. ★★★★★★

Facundo Pellistri: Replaced Elanga 76′. Had a chance to score for United but it was a wasted effort. It seems likely that he will be loaned again this season, which is something that he needs. It will have to be a positive one though, not to a club that will use him sparingly – he needs first team minutes to guarantee anything. ★★★★★

James Garner: Replaced Pellistri 90+1′. Had a minute or so on the pitch, which was not really enough to judge him or his performance. I had expected him to start though but Ten Hag had a different plan for this match. Perhaps he could get some involvement in Sunday’s match? ★★★★★

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Match Information

Goals: Joao Felix 86′

Assists: Alvaro Morata 86′

Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Malacia; Fred, McTominay (van de Beek 69′); Elanga (Pellistri 76′ (Garner 90+1′), Fernandes, Rashford; Martial (Eriksen 69′)

Substitutes Not Used: Heaton, Kovar; Martinez, Telles, Laird

Bookings: Thomas Lemur 23′, Reinaldo Mandava 35′, Jan Oblak 41′, Saul Niguez 84′; Fred 28′, 90′ s/o, Scott McTominay 41′, Harry Maguire 54′

Written by John Walker

About John Walker 1711 Articles
I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.