Erik ten Hag’s first game in charge of Manchester United went off to a perfect start as the side managed to get the better of Liverpool in a pre-season friendly. The 4-0 scoreline certainly paints a very affirmative picture of the Dutchman’s initial approach.
However, more than the changes that the gaffer brought in, it is certainly the individual performances that stood out. Here are the players who put in the most convincing displays at Bangkok.
It has become quite fashionable to consider the two midfielders as one entity. However, if the ongoing transfer rumours are to be believed the two would be really fortunate to retain their regular starting spots come August.
Regardless, an incredible display was put up by Scott McTominay and Fred in the first half. While Fred’s picturesque goal was the highlight of their performance, it cannot be denied that the midfield display was a dominating one. The passing was good, the possession was impressive, and the attempts made by the duo at ushering in a pressing style of football in the face of Liverpool’s daunting midfield was promising.
2. Jadon Sancho
Sancho is about to enter a pivotal part of his United career. The English international did not deliver the goals that were expected of him last campaign and the season ahead should see a change in that statistic in order for the price tag to be proven accurate.
In this friendly, he did precisely that. His goal was good evidence of the same but a better takeaway was the manner in which he stretched the width of the flank play. With the fullbacks switching flanks, Sancho created the best possible runs ahead to ensure that threats were being created on a regular basis. More of the same will be expected of him. Along the same side, Marcus Rashford too proved to be promising but lacked the attacking edge that is expected of him in the long run.
3. Anthony Martial
Martial’s return from loan was one that was always going to be a mixed bag. However, in the limited minutes that were on display, the attacker appeared to be eager to do business as usual. In fact, if Cristiano Ronaldo’s purported departure does go through, this performance gives ample proof as to why Martial can be a great no.9 to solve woes at Old Trafford.
Having said that, making sweeping promises for the Frenchman based on just one performance is the precise sort of error that the United faithful are in the habit of making when it comes to the former Monaco man. Simply put, the fixtures that lie ahead in the pre-season will prove to be pivotal.
4. The Youngsters
While it was Facundo Pellistri who bagged the all-important fourth goal, several other youngsters also registered promising displays. Having said that, the overall second-half performance where a lot of starlets were entrusted with minutes by Ten Hag was not the best and was certainly lacklustre when compared to the confidence on show in the first half.
Amongst them, Charlie Savage also showed must promise and his runs proved the same. Pellistri meanwhile gave a strong argument as to why the higher-ups at the club ought to not break the bank on fresh signings and instead focus on promoting these youngsters to make an impact in the season to come.
All in all, this was a good showing for Ten Hag’s style of football and now it will be interesting to see whether the rest of the pre-season campaign as well as the season ahead proves to match up to the promise of this display.