Derby 1-2 Man Utd: Three Things We Learned From First Pre-Season Match

Manchester United's Facundo Pellistri celebrates with Jesse Lingard and teammates after scoring their second goal.

Reuters/Craig Brough

Man Utd began their pre-season for the 2021/22 season at Pride Park, running out 2-1 winners over the home side.

The visitor’s first pre-season goal was courtesy of Tahith Chong, while Facundo Pellistri added another after the break. Meanwhile, Colin Kazim-Richards’ goal in the 70th minute was probably the only source of encouragement for Wayne Rooney’s side.

However, the Red Devils, bereft of the majority of first-team stars, did make an impression on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.


1. Not here to be a Back-up

Tom Heaton, 35, has been the club’s least exciting piece of transfer business this summer. The former Aston Villa goalkeeper’s role is still unclear, as David de Gea and Dean Henderson occupy the first two goalkeeping spots, while Lee Grant – United’s third choice keeper – also penned a one-year contract extension.

Reuters / Carl Recine

Nevertheless, Heaton’s unofficial debut showed there’s no uncertainty in his mind regarding the target he has set at his boyhood club. The commanding presence accompanied by a superb close-range save to deny Derby’s equaliser had glimpses of a goalkeeper ready to challenge for the No. 1 spot.


2. Chong and Pellistri

Both youngsters were on the scoresheet against Derby. Chong won the ball in the Rams’ penalty area before taking two attempts to beat Kelles Roos. Pellistri’s goal was more easy on the eye, as he rounded Derby’s substitute goalkeeper David Marshall to double his team’s lead.

Nevertheless, the duo won’t be at Old Trafford this season. Chong’s loan move to Birmingham City has been already announced. And Solskjaer also confirmed plans for Pellistri to go out on loan again.


3. Lingard to Fight for His Place

West Ham are interested in bringing back Jesse Lingard to London, however, the United academy graduate is keen on fighting for his place in Manchester.

His intent was made clear by his performance on Sunday afternoon. Introduced in the second half, Lingard was the one who started the move for Pellistri’s goal, while himself coming close to scoring with a curling effort that smashed the crossbar.

Solskjaer also confirmed in his post-match interview that for now the 28-year-old is in the plans for the new campaign.