Five things we learned from Manchester United v Melbourne Victory

Manchester United have now finished their second game of pre-season 2022, against Melbourne Victory at the MCG.

Here is a look at five things we learned from the 4-1 win…

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

De Gea still not fit

Ten Hag’s second United team selection was influenced by a few fitness issues.

David de Gea was injured in the second half against Liverpool and that meant he was not fit enough to be part of the squad here.

Raphael Varane also dropped out of the squad from that game entirely, with James Garner also not fit enough to play any part.

It is far from a disaster, but those three players need big pre-seasons, and United fans would love to see all three hit the ground running, so it would be good to have them back as soon as possible.

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United caught cold

Harry Maguire made his return to the United side here, playing 45 minutes as captain.

But United were caught on the break early on here, with both full-backs pushed up the pitch and Maguire, Fred and Victor Lindelof unable to cope.

Maguire needs to build some confidence, and that start to the game will not have helped, and it also underlined the work Ten Hag still has to do to improve the defence.

The impending arrival of Lisandro Martinez should help, and it was also notable that Ten Hag put Lindelof on the left of his central defensive duo, in the role Maguire prefers to operate in.

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United recover well

United dominated possession throughout the first half, with Ten Hag looking to get the full-backs narrow, and Fred starting attacks as a sole holding player.

But they found chances harder to come by until the closing stages of the first half, when they turned the scoreline around before the interval.

Scott McTominay’s deflected equaliser was fortunate, before Anthony Martial showcased his finesse to make it 2-1.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Bailly shows both sides of his game

Ten Hag made ten outfield changes at half-time, just as he did after the break against Liverpool. There were impressive signs from a few youngsters introduced, most notably Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal.

That meant Eric Bailly played alongside makeshift central defender Alex Telles in the second 45 minutes, and he showed both sides of his game.

The Ivorian displayed a lack of concentration in allowing a ball to run over his foot, meaning Tom Heaton had to sweep up, before giving the ball away in a dangerous area minutes later.

But then he showed the same purpose and quality on the ball which set up Tuesday’s fourth goal, striding out of defence and playing the pass to Marcus Rashford for 3-1.

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Rashford gets confidence boosting goal

Rashford failed to find the back of the net against Liverpool, despite starting the game and playing well.

He was dropped to the bench here, and when he came on, he looked determined to show Ten Hag what he could do.

Rashford wore the captain’s armband after the interval and got a confidence boosting goal, slotting confidently home on the outside of his right foot.

Martial now has two in two, and Rashford has scored now too, which should give the forwards a welcome boost.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.