A few months ago, Manchester United sank against Liverpool with a 4-0 defeat in the Premier League. This Tuesday, the addition is the same, but it was the Red Devils who administered it to Jürgen Klopp’s team. The importance is less and this success remains to be put into perspective since it was a friendly match and Liverpool carried out a major squad review. Nevertheless, Manchester United were full of confidence and were able to show some great things. Already on the defensive level, we found a certain coherence in this meeting. David De Gea was very impressive and the Raphaël Varane – Victor Lindelöf duo was rather serious. Only Diogo Dalot had more difficulty in this regard (offensively he shone) since he had to manage a Luis Diaz faithful to himself. In the second half, Eric Bailly asserted himself as a boss when rookie Tyrell Malacia delivered an encouraging first score.
Offensively and in construction, the record is also particularly interesting. With 4 goals scored, the Mancunians showed a certain realism against the cages with goals from Jadon Sancho (12th), Fred (30th), Anthony Martial (33rd) and Facundo Pellistri (77th). Moreover, the individual performances of the offensives are almost all to be welcomed. Only Marcus Rashford looked a bit borrowed while Jadon Sancho delivered a high-end game. By analyzing the structure of these goals a little, we also perceive certain principles of play dear to Erik ten Hag. The last goal scored by Facundo Pellistri follows an 80-meter counter initiated by Eric Bailly and concluded by the Uruguayan after a one-two with Amad Diallo. As at Ajax where Jürrien Timber was called upon to project himself regularly, we therefore expect to see situations where the centrals will be more likely to carry the ball to initiate offensives.
Erik ten Hag satisfied but demanding
Anthony Martial’s third goal faces another facet of Erik ten Hag’s game, snippets of which we could see in the first period: high pressing. So certainly, the challenge was sizeable against Liverpool which makes it its trademark and the Reds rather dominated the debates on this subject in the second half. On the other hand, the first act was more balanced and Anthony Martial’s goal followed a high recovery from the Frenchman, who then performed a small number to score. Overall, Erik ten Hag draws a rather good assessment of this first performance from his team, as he explained to MUTV : “I know we have good players, now we have to build a team. I’m happy with the first game.”
However, the Dutchman knows that the result is flattering and that his team still has major areas for improvement: “it will take a long time. I saw a lot of mistakes today. Let’s be honest, Liverpool were playing with three different teams, they weren’t at their best. This result should not be overestimated, but I still saw very good things. We have a lot of creativity and speed up front. Like I said, we have potential. I think they were a team with a great spirit and we know we are just getting started. In the pressing, we made mistakes, but we also created chances with the pressing. A successful first therefore for the Manchester United version Erik ten Hag who will try to confirm this this Friday against Melbourne.