Manchester United finally had an easy game during preseason. And the players made the most of it, securing a win that should boost their confidence for the upcoming challenges.
The Red Devils cruised their way this Sunday to a 3-0 win over Norwegian side Valerenga. The match was played in Oslo, and United did not have problems to win by a comfortable score that could have been bigger if the lads had been more accurate. Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku and Scott McTominay scored for Jose Mourinho’s men.
Even though United cruised to an easy win, it is hard to extract conclusions off this game. First of all, Valerenga are several steps below Manchester United in terms of quality. After all, we are talking about a Norwegian side that finished 10th in their local league last season. But even if we consider that scenario, there are positive things worth mentioning.
Big Stars Delivering
First of all, there’s the play of Paul Pogba and Lukaku. Both players have a big weight on their shoulders. And even though it is still early and the season has not even started, both seem to embrace their leadership roles within the squad. Lukaku has scored three goals in five matches thus far. And while Pogba has not scored, he seems more mature this season. It seems he understood he needs to be more decisive, and his play against Valerenga reflected that. The French looked explosive and active, and could have scored but his effort rattled the post in the first half.
Let me repeat – it’s still preseason. But it is always a good sign when your top players are on good form before the season starts.
Fellaini Making A Case To Stay?
The biggest transfer rumour around the team right now involves Fellaini. The former Everton starlet has been linked with a move to Galatasaray, and he could easily land in Turkey in the coming days. After all, Nemanja Matic is set to arrive and he represents a big upgrade on both sides of the ball.
However, the numbers back Fellaini up. He has emerged as a reliable scorer thanks to his goals against Los Angeles Galaxy and Valerenga. But goals aside, he just looks like a different player. He wasn’t at his best against FC Barcelona or Real Madrid, but who was? Mourinho will have to make a call to decide whether The Belgian Tower stays or leave this summer. But he is making everything he can to prove he remains a valuable piece of the side.
Remember The Name: Scott McTominay
Scott McTominay had been on United’s first-team radar for quite a while now. But this preseason was his first chance to prove himself with the first team. And there is no doubt he has done enough to impress the manager.
McTominay had already turned heads with his display against Real Madrid, as the youngster looked sharp and composed in midfield against one of the top teams in the world. And this time, he was even better against Valerenga. Proving he is on the fast track to become a valuable first-team player sooner than later, the 20-year-old midfielder replaced Pogba and scored during the second half. He only played 30 minutes, but that was enough to show what he can do.
He is not going to challenge for a first-team spot this season. But he is certainly one player to watch for the short-term, especially if he can get a season of first-team football in the Championship or even the Premier League.
Fans Shouldn’t Worry About Mixed Results
Through six games, United have four wins, a draw and a loss. There could be a cause for concern because the draw and the loss came against Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, respectively. However, fans should not alarm.
Mourinho has been trying different tactical systems and several combinations. With the UEFA Super Cup less than two weeks away, the manager needs to find out what is going to work, and what is not. The season starts on August 13, and United must be at the top of their game to start the assault to the Premier League crown.
After all, that’s what friendlies are for.