Manchester United beat Melbourne Victory 4-1 in pre-season: Key takeaways
Manchester United continued to impress under manager Erik ten Hag in their pre-season tour. After beating Liverpool 4-0 in Bangkok, United traveled to Australia and overcame Melbourne Victory 4-1 in a packed stadium. United went down 1-0 early on before they stepped up and took things in control against a side that defended deep. Here we present the takeaways.
United conceded early on as the hosts' counter-attack proved to be viable. However, two goals in as many minutes from Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial just before half-time turned the match around. United made 10 changes at the interval and Marcus Rashford added a third. Tahith Chong's low cross was turned into his own net by Edmond Lupancu to help United win big.
United's front three will be expected to show fluidity by changing positions during the course of any match. However, Jadon Sancho showed once again he can be used as a right-winger more often. For the second successive game, the youngster showed promise. He combined well with Diago Dalot to help United create chances. He played a key role in Martial's goal as well.
In 269 appearances for United, Martial has bagged 79 goals. However, he wasn't in favor last season and went joined Sevilla on loan in January. For the second straight pre-season game, Martial has been among the goals. Ten Hag said when Martial can have the right focus and motivation, one can expect him to be productive. Martial has looked sharp and will only improve.
Defensively, United have work to do and Ten Hag will need to make the players aware. Liverpool opened up United several times and Melbourne Victory too caught the latter early on. Chris Ikonomidis scored the opener as England defender Maguire lacked the speed to match him. He converted a low cross after Victor Lindelof had to pull wide with Luke Shaw out of position.
Melbourne sat deep and United had to be patient in opening them up. In the upcoming season, Ten Hag will face this often, and therefore the arrival of Christian Eriksen will be a huge lift. United have to open up teams who defend. This is an area Ten Hag will need to address and hope the creative side improves.