Atletico Madrid 1 Manchester United 0
Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Manchester United’s first-team squad on Sunday after a loss that raised important questions for his new manager Eric ten Haag, barely a week before the start of the Premier League season.
A late winner from Joo Felix, followed by Fred’s 88th minute departure, ended a disappointing afternoon for United at the Ullewal Stadium in Oslo; Which left his manager describing his finishing as “not acceptable”.
Now, the Dutch coach turned his attention to the second half of his weekend double-header and his first game in charge at Old Trafford, when United concluded their practice campaign against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday afternoon, with ten hags in entirely new ways. were promising. Starting XI.
Ronaldo, still insisting he wants to leave Old Trafford this summer, revealed on social media on Friday that he will play against the Madrid club in his first pre-season action.
And the manner in which United’s first loss under Ten Hague underlined that, whatever other issues surrounding Ronaldo, his absence of goals in the new season would be a difficult obstacle for Ten Hague to overcome without a key signing.
With United scoring 13 times in their last four friendly appearances, Ronaldo’s potential defeat for ten hugs may not have seemed so pressing, despite the fact that the veteran had scored 14 of the 24 goals claimed by the veteran last season. No other United player came in.
Incidentally, it emerged on Saturday that Ten Haig has added former Ajax striker Benny McCarthy to their coaching staff as primarily a striker coach.
The 44-year-old former South African international played in the Premier League with Blackburn and West Ham and remains a friend of Ten Haag’s assistant Michel van der Haag.
In Oslo, United failed to score in an effective first-half performance and were eventually undone by an 86th-minute goal from Joo Félix, one of nine substitutions made by Diego Simeone at the time.
The Premier League side was given the ball cheaply on the right wing, with Coke intercepted and fed by Alvaro Morata, who wisely caught the ball before scoring Felix with a fine 18-yard finish.
“We learned a lot but in the end, it’s about a result and the score is not good,” Ten Haag said.
“If you create opportunities, you have to take advantage and we have created many opportunities. We needed to make at least one goal and we didn’t.
“He scored the few chances he created, so I am not satisfied with that part. This is not acceptable. You have to be fast on both ends in the box.”
Fred’s response, one of seven bookings at a fiery fixture that was often far from ‘friendly’, was to discredit Morata, and then set a foot on him, earning a second yellow card and leaving United with ten men. Had to ensure the end of injury-time. ,
The rare sight of a red card in a pre-season game reflects the bad-tempered Champions League legacy of the last 16 meeting between these clubs in March.
And the first half featured a full-squaring off between both sets of players, when Scott McTominay challenged Atlético keeper Jan Oblak to a high ball.
Ten Haag said, “I like competitive sports but always with respect and I don’t want to get hurt, so you have to have respect for each other.”
“I’ve seen some tackles that were probably a little over the limit.”
Yet the finale was a very different proposition for the first half with Anthony Martial continuing his pre-season improvements and playing himself in several shooting positions without actually testing Oblak.
Martial’s best chance, framed by a superb Marcus Rashford pass, saw him hit a shot at the Atletico keeper, the final sign of a striker who has scored five Premier League goals in 30 games over the past two seasons.
Ericsson provides reason for optimism
Even more so in the second half, United still created better chances, especially after the introduction of new signing Christian Eriksen in the 68th minute, who made two impressive openings almost immediately.
At first, Anthony Elanga was unable to connect with an away cross from the experienced Dane and then found unmarked Harry Maguire in Ericsson’s corner who could only widen the goal.
“We know what he’s capable of,” said Ericsson’s Ten Haig. “With the men in front of us, he is able to give them the right passes at the right time.
“So he will create opportunities; So it’s about finishing.”
Another United substitute, Faisundo Pellestri, also missed an excellent opportunity, seeing his follow-up shot deflected wide after a committed Rashford run and ended in a block by Axel Witsel.
With Jadon Sancho out of play due to illness, Ten Haig manipulated team selection to try to give as many players 90 minutes as possible in the first two friendly games of the season at home to Brighton on Sunday.
The new centre-half signing Lysandro Martinez was an unused option in Oslo’s 25-degree heat, possibly saving him for a few minutes against Vallecano, while Sancho’s fitness will be assessed on the morning of the game.
Elsewhere, there were signs of a clear improvement in United’s ability to play from behind, despite a few spells of furious pressure from Atletico almost a week back in terms of pre-season fitness preparations.
Newcomer Tyrell Malasia showed he was likely to pose a serious challenge to Luke Shaw for the left-back position and has been linked with Rashford repeatedly in the first half.
And Maguire, who had been booed by some sections of his own supporters during United’s previous practice games, not only did well but was also warmly treated by the 26,129 crowd mainly supporting the English club.