Manchester United maintained their winning streak in pre-season by beating Inter Milan 1-0 in Singapore.
The Red Devils dominated play in the first half but the match went into the break goalless.
After Jesse Lingard’s shot was blocked on the line and Nemanja Matic headed onto the upright, it was young Mason Greenwood who broke the deadlock with a sumptuous finish inside the box.
The United academy product would later hit the frame of the goal again as the Reds secured a narrow win.
Here, we look at the players who impressed and those who weren’t up to the mark.
Marcus Rashford has been pitted as United’s main man in attack for the upcoming season with Romelu Lukaku out of favour and possibly on the way out, but if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his way, Anthony Martial will be a force to be reckoned with as well.
The immensely talented Frenchman has only shown glimpses of his vast potential but the United boss is certain he will come good this term after encouraging signs in pre-season. Seemingly buoyed by the praise from his manager, Martial was electric against Inter.
Even against a very deep-lying back-five, the 23-year-old looked lively and glided past players. His effort was the closest United came to a goal in the first half. After a neat exchange with Rashford, his chipped effort was well dealt with by Samir Handanovic.
His best moment though came soon after the restart when he bamboozled opponents in midfield before galloping towards the edge of the box and laying the ball off for Lingard whose shot was cleared off the line.
Speaking of prodigious forwards, United have a serious talent on their hands in Greenwood. The 17-year-old continues to impress at every opportunity and proved to be the match-winner in Singapore.
He made an instant impact on the game, running at defenders and creating openings although his first couple of dribbles got away from him. Comfortable staying inside the box or drifting wide, Greenwood was difficult to track.
His goal was outstanding. After Handanovic parried Ashley Young’s free-kick, Greenwood was a picture of composure when the loose ball fell to him. With several defenders between him and goal, he sold the first man a dummy, chopping onto his left foot before rocketing his finish into the far corner.
Moments later, his goal-poaching instincts were on display when he got in front of his marker and steered a well-worked Tahith Chong cross onto the crossbar on the volley.
TWO NOT SO GOOD
United remain in the market for a midfielder even though Paul Pogba looks as if he may stay put this season. That’s perhaps for the best given Fred isn’t showing promising signs.
There was one moment when he nutmegged an opponent in a tight space but apart from that his performance was pretty average – although it’s perhaps harsh to expect much from him on his first outing and he has not played a full part in pre-season due to getting married. His first involvement set the tone as he somehow passed the ball directly to an Inter player five yards away under no real pressure.
More loose touches and passes followed while he was largely anonymous whenever United broke forward. He’ll need to find his feet quickly.
He didn’t have a glaringly poor performance but Diogo Dalot should be concerned.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was again flawless at right-back and when he was replaced by Dalot, the gulf in class was palpable. Where Dalbert was regularly shut down by United’s summer signing, against Dalot he got a lot more joy and a couple of the Italian side’s best attacks came down that flank.
On the front foot, Dalot was aggressive with his positioning but when played into space, he couldn’t deliver a telling cross with every one of his efforts woefully over-hit.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is predicting much better performances from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial this season.
“Anthony, in the way that he works for the team. I think he’s always got the quality, talent, he’s going to score goals, and the work rate is improving, so, I expect him and Marcus(Rashford), two of them to be even better than last season.”
He also shared his thoughts on Romelu Lukaku’s situation ahead of the International Champions Cup on Friday.
He explained the striker, who is heavily linked to opponents Inter Milan, is unfit to play the match against the Serie A outift but remains a United player as of now.
Solskjaer also thinks the next season of the Premier League will be a “closer race” and there won’t be a repeat of the dominance of Liverpool and Manchester City.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows Manchester United need to hit the ground running if next season is to be a success.
A poor start to the 2018-19 campaign resulted in Jose Mourinho’s men falling behind the pack, leading to the Old Trafford hierarchy eventually wielding the axe in mid-December.
Solskjaer then oversaw a remarkable upturn in fortunes when brought in as caretaker manager but things went awry after his permanent appointment and United stumbled home in sixth.
The gap to relegated Cardiff in 18th was the same to champions Manchester City at the end of the season, and Solskjaer knows his side need to start as they mean to go.
“Of course the transfer window will close when the league starts,” the United boss said.
“The start of the season is important, that’s why we’ve worked them hard.
“I don’t think many of the players have had a pre-season like this before in the last two or three years because there have been championships. It’s their first pre-season for a little while.
“So, for us, in the first eight to 10 games you don’t win anything but you can definitely lose the chance to win things. The first two months is vital for us.”
Getting players in as soon as possible will also play an important role.
So far, Swansea flyer Daniel James and Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka have been the only additions, with the club keen to still at least bring in a ball-playing centre-back and central midfielder.
Asked for a transfer update by PA, Solskjaer said: “As I’ve said a few times, we’re working on one or two cases but my objective here now is we’ve got to get ready for the games and training sessions.
“And if I’ve got to travel somewhere, I will, and you won’t be able to ask me.”
Solskjaer was speaking at Singapore’s National Stadium, where United will continue pre-season preparations against Inter Milan on Saturday in the International Champions Cup.
Romelu Lukaku, a key transfer target for the Serie A side, will miss his third straight friendly with an unspecified knock.
Addressing the issue, Solskjaer said: “He’s not fit so he won’t be available.”
As to whether he expects Lukaku to be at the club next month, the Norwegian added: “I don’t have any updates from the last time I spoke to you. So yeah, I do.”
Lukaku watched training from the sidelines in Singapore, where Fred and Matteo Darmian trained with the group after being allowed to miss the Australia leg of the tour for personal reasons.
“Today we are going to have to see where they’re at because they’ve been training back home,” he said.
“Fred’s been over in Brazil, had his wedding, got married so he has probably got loads of energy and I’m sure he is keen to join in.”
Solskjaer expects David De Gea and Luke Shaw to be available to face Inter after illness and a hamstring issue respectively.
The United boss, meanwhile, has thrown his support behind Anthony Martial ahead of the new campaign.
Solskjaer is confident the £36million capture from Monaco four years ago can enjoy potentially his best season with the club after witnessing his form so far in pre-season.
“Anthony can be a world-class forward and I think if you followed Anthony in the last few seasons the way he’s come back to pre-season now, his attitude is absolutely spot on,” he said.
“There’s been a couple of instances where you can see a new Anthony in the way that he works for the team.
“He has always got the quality, talent, he’s going to score goals and his work rate is improving. I expect him and Marcus to be even better than last season.
“Anthony had a top season when he came, his first season top scorer, then he’s had a couple of seasons where he’s not hit that amount of goals and quality so I’m sure we will see a better Anthony this year.”