Five things we learnt from Man United’s clash with Real Madrid in Santa Clara
MANCHESTER UNITED beat Real Madrid on penalties in Santa Clara after a 1-1 draw in the International Champions Cup.
Anthony Martial’s stunning skill set up Jesse Lingard with a tap-in to open the scoring in the first half at Levi’s Stadium.
Victor Lindelof then had a moment of madness in the second half as he hacked down Theo Hernandez to concede a penalty.
Casemiro fired home the spot-kick to force a shoot-out in which SEVEN of the 10 penalties were missed.
United prevailed 2-1 and here are five things we learnt from the pre-season clash in California.
Not so slick, Vic
Jose Mourinho spent a lot of money bringing Lindelof to the club from Benfica, but he can’t have been impressed with what he saw in Santa Clara.
United were cruising in the second half against an inexperienced side that barely posed a threat.
What Lindelof was thinking no one knows.
Theo Hernandez was chasing a lost cause – the ball was rolling out – when Lindelof came steaming across and clattered into the Real new boy to concede a terrible penalty.
Mourinho never learnt to trust Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo or Phil Jones. If Lindelof does that again, he too will lose the trust of Mourinho.
Mou finds defensive options
Mourinho started a back four that wouldn’t have logged much time together before. But Eric Bailly, Jones, Matteo Darmian and Timothy Fosu-Mensah were mightily impressive against Real Madrid’s front three (even if they were missing one Cristiano Ronaldo).
Jones, a player who could be leaving this summer, was especially impressive, making a number of last-ditch clearances and timely interceptions.
Bailly physically dominated Karim Benzema and Darmian kept Gareth Bale quiet.
But it was Fosu-Mensah who really caught the eye, showing Mourinho he deserves more consideration next season. He was comfortable on the ball and wasn’t beaten once. The youngster deserves a close look by Mourinho.
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Anthony Martial, who seemed to spend the whole of last season in Mourinho’s bad books, reminded us all why United splashed out so much money on him two seasons ago.
Martial stunned the crowd with magical dribbling, picking the ball up on the left and beating three Real players with his quick feet and cut-back for Lingard to score a simple goal.
It was a sparkling reminder of what Martial, still just 21, is capable of.
He has the potential to be one of the world’s very best but clearly needs his manager to trust him, and it didn’t matter that he missed a penalty in the shoot-out.
Praying for Ander
United won the game but Mourinho will be praying that it hasn’t come at a cost.
Ander Herrera, one of Mourinho’s most important players last season, managed just five minutes before he was clattered into by Oscar Rodriguez.
The Spanish midfielder immediately looked in pain and signalled to be taken off while limping and holding his hips and ribs.
There’s no official word just yet but, with Juan Mata also picking up an injury in this tour, Mourinho will want that substitution to just be a precaution.
The main event is still to come
This was a game played at a snail’s pace.
Manchester United played a second-string XI but were much sharper than Real Madrid, who were very clearly playing their first game of pre-season.
Missing Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid’s first team, were outplayed by the kids who replaced them at half-time. But don’t expect that to be the case in a couple of weeks.
The two teams will meet again in the Uefa Super Cup and although it’s also practically a friendly, Mourinho will be taking it very seriously.
It takes place just five days before United’s opener against West Ham and the United boss will be desperate to have his players firing on all cylinders.
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