Manchester United have now played two pre-season matches and scored eight goals combined, beating Liverpool 4-0 and Melbourne Victory 4-1.

The two tour games so far have given United reason to be positive, with the team building momentum ahead of the Premier League returning on August 7.

Here is a look at five lessons learned from United’s opening pre-season matches…

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Bruno Fernandes is playing in a calmer manner

Erik ten Hag may have found a happy medium to get the best out of star midfielder Bruno Fernandes. In two 45 minute appearances so far, United’s new number 8 is showing a nice balance to his game.

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At the end of last season Fernandes was taking too many unnecessary risks in possession too frequently. He has looked a lot better since returning.

Fernandes appears more upbeat too, and this is reflected in his performances. Ten Hag won’t want to take the creativity out of his game, but it’s all about being effective, and sometimes it’s as simple as not trying too hard.

The Portuguese star looks in control, and he is working for the good of the trio in front of him, who are reaping the benefits.

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Jadon Sancho is a threat from the right

United have a handful of attacking players who prefer to attack from the left side, which has made the team too unbalanced in recent seasons.

So it has been great to see Jadon Sancho having a big impact in the opening games from United’s right-wing.

Speaking after the win over Melbourne Victory, Erik ten Hag picked out United’s right side as the area of the team he was most impressed by.

Sancho has a big season ahead and his early form has been very promising. If he can settle into a role on United’s right and become the threat we hoped he would, then the team will be better for it.

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Anthony Martial is back, again

After failing to impress at Sevilla, not many people gave Anthony Martial much chance of revitalising his career back at Manchester United. Remarkably, it seems possible.

Martial has two goals in two pre-season games and has impressed with his work rate and attitude. We have been here before, but it’s still very encouraging to see.

United really don’t have many alternatives up front right now, and Martial’s prospects hinge on what Cristiano Ronaldo ends up doing. If the number 7 returns, will Martial wilt under pressure as he has done before, or fight his corner?

The front three has been excellent in the opening games, and Martial deserves credit for pushing himself back towards the player we saw in 2020. Erik ten Hag should be praised too, for managing to get the Frenchman back on track.

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Eric Bailly can play a part

Manchester United’s best defender during the opening two games is… Eric Bailly. Few would have seen this coming, and while Lisandro Martinez’s signing could further restrict the defender star’s chances, he could have a part to play.

Bailly and Ivory Coast are not going to the World Cup, and the sheer volume of games between now and the tournament means United could need five centre-backs if injuries hit.

With an assist in the second game and a key role in a goal in the first, Bailly has shown an ability to create from the back which will have impressed Ten Hag.

Bailly entered the summer written off as a United player, but he’s certainly got the talent. If he is prepared to stick around, then the manager could find a use for him.

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Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage impress

Two young players have demanded attention with their performances in United’s two opening matches. Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal both look very comfortable playing in the first team.

The duo are both confident on the ball, able to evade opponents and play both simple and difficult passes, and have shone against more senior opponents.

The pair are giving Erik ten Hag a nice decision to make for the season ahead. He could choose to utilise them in the first team rather than sending them out on loan.

If the duo keep on developing, then in the years ahead they could phase Fred and Scott McTominay out of the team.

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