Manchester United registered a runaway victory over Turkish side Galatasaray in their second pre-season match of the summer.
Although the match was purely for gauging the fitness levels of the players, it was pleasing to see the lads enjoying themselves as United emerged 5-2 winners on the day, with goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney , Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata.
The squad had been subjected to double training sessions by Jose Mourinho, and rightly so, after their pre-season warm up match against Manchester City in the International Champions Cup was cancelled due to unplayable conditions resulting from a heavy downpour in Beijing a week ago.
Here are five observations from United’s win over the Turkish side.
It took just four minutes for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to get off the mark as he scored on his first outing in United colors.
The Swede found the back of the net the only way he knows how, by getting on the finishing end of Antonio Valencia’s cross with an overhead kick.
Although we’ve seen Zlatan make better connections with a bicycle kick, and England can attest to that, it was still a remarkable way to introduce himself to the United crowd, more so in his own home country.
New Valencia role
Much like Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia has over the years evolved in his role as a Manchester United player.
The Ecuadorian- who once adorned the revered number 7 jersey- proved integral in a new role at the back four.
He may have played as a right-back a couple of times last season under Louis van Gal, but he never reached the heights he has under Jose Mourinho.
The veteran was in blistering form as he occasionally overlapped, providing three assists with each of his crosses being converted.
That kind of showing can only mean the winger-cum-right-back could most likely displace Matteo Darmian to the bench.
Having made it clear during the early stages of his appointment that Wayne Rooney is neither a number 6 or 8, Mourinho kept his word by playing the skipper in the number 10 role.
The 30-year old rewarded the gaffer’s belief in him by scoring a brace during the friendly against Galatasaray: one of which was calmly slotted from a spot-kick.
Rooney could be on the final stretch of his career this season, as he marks his 12-year stay at Old Trafford with a testimonial match on Wednesday against his boyhood club, Everton.
Jose Mourinho’s charges may have put five past Galatasaray, but the Portuguese is bound to spend sleepless nights over his side’s defensive concerns.
With Chris Smalling not making the trip to Gothenburg due to injury, Eric Bailly’s partnership with Daley Blind proved vulnerable as United gave the lead away with two soft goals before eventually outscoring their opponents.
New manager, same old problems.
Of the 23-man squad that travelled to Sweden for the friendly, all of them got minutes under their belts – with the exception of Sam Johnstone, as Sergio Romero came on for David De Gea.
From Mourinho’s verdict after the game, he may have found a way to accommodate the likes of Juan Mata and Ander Herrera in the team – seeing as they won’t be sold this summer.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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