Manchester United played a friendly against Burnley at Old Trafford today.
United lost out on a planned pre-season match against another Lancashire club, Preston, last month because of positive Covid tests.
On top of that, many players haven’t had too much pre-season preparation under their belts.
So while it’s an unusual step, it’s clear and understandable to see why United organised this game.
Manchester United friendly win
The final score was 3-1 to United at Old Trafford. Burnley opened the scoring through Aaron Lennon, who is training with the Clarets.
Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard got United’s first two goals, before Fred got on the scoresheet again.
Jadon Sancho started the game, after making his United debut off the bench against Leeds on Saturday, but Raphael Varane was not involved.
According to MEN, the United starting eleven was: Heaton, Dalot, Bailly, Maguire, Williams; Matic, Van de Beek; Sancho, Mata, Lingard; Martial.
As per Burnley’s website, their team was: Hennessey (Norris 46); Bardsley, Collins, Thomas, Pieters; Lennon, Helm, Gomez-Mancini (Tucker 77), Glennon (Dodgson 60); Barnes, Vydra (Harker 55).
On the bench were: Lindelof, Jones, Pogba, Greenwood, Fred, Fernandes, James, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka, Garner, Hannibal, Kovar.
Goalscorer Fred and Victor Lindelof were introduced at half-time, while every other substitute apart from reserve goalkeeper Matej Kovar came on with 30 minutes remaining.
That means Phil Jones made his first appearance in a red shirt since January 2020.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke to the club website about Jones last week and said: “I’m impressed by his resilience in training. We have to manage the workload early on.
“I’ve been part of that myself after being out for the best part of a year and a little bit more than that.
“He’s been so determined and worked so hard. Now is not the time to rush things; now is the time to really do the last bit perfectly. As I said, Reserve games, Under-23s, maybe behind closed doors.
“He’s already had in-house games against the 23s so it’s looking good.”
It seems United’s plan to get Jones fitter is working and today’s game is another step forward and hopefully his body reacts well to it.
Perhaps he will even be fit enough for a loan exit before the end of the window, because he needs to be out playing regular football and he won’t get that at United, especially now Raphael Varane is here.
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