Marcus Rashford struck twice as Manchester United’s pre-season tour got off to a comfortable start, with Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof making their first appearances in a comprehensive defeat of the Los Angeles Galaxy.
After five gruelling days of double-sessions in the Californian sunshine, Saturday evening brought the chance to blow away the cobwebs at a sold-out StubHub Center.
David Beckham was among those in attendance on a night that United bossed from the outset. Mourinho named a different line-up in each half, with Marouane Fellaini complementing a Rashford brace in the first period before Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial scored in a 5-2 friendly win.
Giovani dos Santos scored two late consolation goals but that could not take the gloss off a promising start to pre-season against a Galaxy side in the midst of a testing Major League Soccer campaign.
Mourinho interestingly plumped for a three-man defence in Carson, where this run-of-the-mill friendly came with a dollop of American razzmatazz.
Fireworks were followed by ticker tape at the kick-off – paper that was still floating to the ground when Jesse Lingard snatched possession, allowing Rashford to finish smartly after 115 seconds.
📹 | Rashford's neat finish to give United a 1-0 lead. pic.twitter.com/vryiLutFAa— Man Utd Stuff (@ManUtdStuff) July 16, 2017
There was no let up as Rashford had another attempt and Juan Mata tried an unorthodox effort, before the pair combined for a 20th-minute goal.
The Spain international played through the sharp-looking striker, who showed no little composure and skill to slot past Jon Kempin.
The Galaxy’s second-string were being toyed with and Fellaini soon got in on the act, firing home after a smart cutback from Lingard.
Chris Smalling was ruled offside after tapping home just before the break, which Rashford would have entered with the match ball secure had he not wasted a one-on-one.
An entirely new line-up trotted out for the second half, including summer signings Lukaku and Lindelof.
The latter had two early attempts but the Galaxy’s half-time changes strengthened them markedly, with Ashley Cole among those brought on – a change welcomed by jeers from those clad in red.
United again began to turn the screw, though, and Mkhitaryan swept home a Martial pass in the 67th minute.
It was five soon after as Paul Pogba played a lovely ball to Tim Fosu-Mensah, whose cutback was turned home by Martial.
Dos Santos netted two late goals – cutting all too easily past Lindelof for the first before a fortunate deflection – as the pre-season tour got off to a straightforward start.
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With the transfer window now officially open from July 1, the frenetic nature of speculation is only going to increase.
Rumours are starting to gather pace and we take a look at the latest stories doing the rounds in the media.
Will any of the following deals happen?
Liverpool will lodge a £70million offer to RB Leipzig to secure their No1 target Naby Keita.
The Reds have been locked in negotiations with the Bundesliga side all summer and have already seen a £57million bid rejected.
They face stiff competition from Inter Milan, though, who are willing to loan the 22-year-old back to Leipzig for a season.
Despite talking tough all summer it seems Leipzig could be willing to do business at £70million, according to the Mirror.
The German club are cash rich and so haven’t been under pressure to sell their prized asset but the word behind closed doors is that they are prepared to sell at that price, given the exponential profit margin.
Keita is seen as a crucial cog in Jurgen Klopp’s plans to tackle the Champions League as well as domestic trophies next season and momentum suggests he will get his man.
Juventus have rejected a mammoth bid from Chelsea for their star striker Gonzalo Higuain, reports Tuttosport.
The Premier League champions are desperately trying to fill the void which will be left by want-away striker Diego Costa’s expected departure and have had a €100million offer rejected by the Italians.
It’s the second time this summer the Blues have failed in the initial attempts to sign a player from Juve after they had a €70million bid rejected for Alex Sandro.
Costa won’t be joining Chelsea’s pre-season tour and has been frozen out of training with the senior side so it seems there is no way back for the Spain international.
That being the case, Antonio Conte better get his skates on because world-class frontmen are in short supply and having lost out on Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, a rejected offer of this size for Higuain is another blow.
However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is on the market and it would seem the Borussia Dortmund man would be a viable option for the Blues.
AC Milan are ready to test Real Madrid’s resolve by preparing an offer to sign their playmaker Luka Modric, claims Calciomercato.
Modrid is reportedly a long-term admirer of Milan who have undergone a summer transformation with eight new major signings acquired.
A lack of Champions League football kills this rumour immediately and when you combine that with the fact Real are the biggest and best club on the planet right now, it’s difficult to see why Modric would want to leave.
Persuading Real to sell in the first place would be hard enough but it would be even harder still to then convince the Croatia international to swap the Bernabeu for the San Siro.
Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren believes the arrival of winger Mohamed Salah will help them break down the stubborn defences which caused them so many problems last season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side displayed scintillating form in the first half the campaign but the loss of speedy forward Sadio Mane to the African Nations Cup coincided with a slump in form.
Their problems were compounded when the Senegal international’s season was prematurely ended by a knee problem in early April, and with Daniel Sturridge also missing two months from February with injury the Reds were left looking rather one-paced and easy to defend against.
Lovren believes the addition of Salah, who scored on his first appearance for the club in Friday’s 1-1 friendly draw at Wigan, will help address that issue.
“Mane had his injury and we missed him,” said the Croatia international.
“We saw (Salah on Friday) and we will see more of his qualities. He needs more time as he’s only had six days with us and everything is completely new (but) I think he will be perfect in this system.”
The only other arrival so far is England Under-20 World Cup winner Dominic Solanke, who joined after his contract expired with Chelsea, but he has already shown glimpses of promise in two separate 45-minute outings so far.
“I think they (Salah and Solanke) have their qualities and Jurgen knows what he needs and what the team needs to improve,” added Lovren.
“I think he made a good choice. These guys work really hard on the pitch and in training so it is always good to welcome such players like these.
“Quality players are always welcome but we have other players like Mane, Phil (Coutinho) so I think it will be a difficult job to get in the first XI with so many good players.”
Liverpool are hopeful of tying up an £8million deal for Hull left-back Andrew Robertson, although not in time for him to fly out to Hong Kong with the squad for the Premier League Asia Trophy, while they are also pursuing RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita as their primary midfield target.
Speculation continues to link the Reds with Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, despite the club having to publicly end their interest in the Holland international after Saints accused them of tapping up the player.
If that was to be resurrected it would bring additional competition for Lovren, who only signed a new five-year contract last season, but he is not worried.
“I can’t talk about that. I am just concentrating on Liverpool and my fitness. I think the biggest thing is to improve my fitness,” he said.
“It is pre-season but the most important thing is to be free of injuries. I want to be 100 per cent.
“I just need some consistency. (Last season) something happened like an injury or illness and then it was two steps back and I needed a good run to be back in shape so I am preparing myself as best I can.
“I have said many times I am very proud they (Liverpool) believe in my and they have given me a chance to work here. It is a pleasure to be here with this squad.
“We have such a talented squad, such stars who people want to buy but we are here with a reason – because of the club – and no-one wants to go.”
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