Manchester United continued their fine form in preseason as they beat Crystal Palace in Melbourne, Australia to make it three wins from three for Erik ten Hag.
[ MORE: Preseason scores in Premier League ]
Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were all on the scoresheet for United as their attacking unit continues to look slick and a few unexpected stars are emerging from their tour of Asia and Australia. Joel Ward scored Palace’s lone goal late on
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Below is reaction from Bruno Fernandes, plus the Manchester City vs Crystal Palace video highlights.
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United feeling confident after another comfortable win
Bruno Fernandes spoke to MUTV after the game and revealed that Manchester United are feeling confident after three wins from three in preseason, as he lined up in the No. 10 role behind a flowing front three of Sancho, Martial and Rashford.
“We are feeling good, obviously the results help with that but we are playing good football,” Fernandes said. “Lot of things to improve yet but we have time for that and we will be ready for the first game of the season… We are being really aggressive. Firstly the three guys up front they have been really aggressive. When they press, they press really strong. That makes the last line squeeze, the midfield go higher and when we recover the ball we are closer to the goal too. We are fresh to do that and have freedom when we recover the ball because there is a lot of space wide and in the middle. We are playing much better on the ball too.”
Donny van de Beek spoke to reporters after the game as he also showed some nice touches and set up Rashford’s goal, as the Dutchman and former Ajax star is full of confidence after his former manager Erik ten Hag took charge of United.
“We made some good goals and showed some good things. There is still a lot of space for improvement but we should keep going and train hard,” Van de Beek said. “He [Erik ten Hag] likes the details, he asked a lot from you as a player and you have to be fit to play his football. We have the right players for that and we just have to keep going.”
Van de Beek added “you have to play good to play with this manager, like every manager and that is it” and said he’s been thinking about his game a lot but trying to stay true to his strengths, as he revealed that pressing, lots of off-the-ball movements and playing out from the back are key to ETH’s philosophy.
What we learned from Manchester United vs Crystal Palace
Yes, this latest victory was against an understrength Crystal Palace side, but the main positive to take from this win is that a clear playing style is being ushered in and it is high-pressing, possession-based, attractive and incisive. That is exactly what United wanted and the movement and creativity in all three of United’s goals was a mouthwatering example of what can be achieved under ETH if their star players stay fit and in-form.
Erik ten Hag applauded the hard work of his team for pressing high, especially the defensive work of his forwards, but demanded the entire team to be better at timing when to press and when to hold back. That will come in time, but the signs are positive as Diogo Dalot was once again causing problems high up the pitch, Tyrell Malacia was very adventurous from the opposite full back position, while Martial, Sancho, Rashford and Donny van de Beek all look sharp, clinical and on the same page in the final third.
Video of Erik ten Hag yelling at David de Gea for playing a long ball forward instead of playing out of the back when United were 3-1 up late on tells you all you need to know about the levels the Dutch coach is expecting day in, day out.
Perhaps the only real negative from this game was the fact that Harry Maguire received boos from the Manchester United fans who made up the majority of the 80,000 crowd in Melbourne. The Manchester United captain struggled with his form last season and that kind of reaction will not help him.
Manchester United vs Crystal Palace video highlights
🌟 Touch & finish 🌟
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 19, 2022
A lovely team move to double our lead 😍
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 19, 2022
Another lightning counterattack made it 3-0 in Melbourne ⚡️🌪
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 19, 2022
Manchester United beat Crystal Palace, forwards impress again – Video highlights originally appeared on NBCSports.com
Harry Maguire faces up to boos as Manchester United show their progress
- Martial, Rashford and Sancho score in slick 3-1 win over Palace
- Van de Beek defends Maguire for display with ‘big personality’
From an admittedly small sample size of only three tour matches, Erik ten Hag appears to be improving Manchester United. Each of the goals scored in their 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Tuesday, by Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, was a function of slick and cute play that crowned United’s most impressive performance of their pre-season tour of the far east and Australia, following the wins over Liverpool (4-0) and Melbourne Victory (4-1).
“We are happy with the improvement we see – we score some wonderful goals,” said Ten Hag. “That is also the demand [press high]. We press all day, high on the pitch and if we can’t we do it on a low block. [We can still improve] the timing, when we start it, and also our quality on the ball. We play well, but you see when two, three-nil up the belief is increasing.”
For Harry Maguire, this was something of a mixed affair. He faced Palace having been backed emphatically by Ten Hag as captain and a “first-choice” player but then had to endure boos from those in attendance early on. They were eventually quietened via an impressive display by the England defender, prior to him being replaced in the second half.
Donny van de Beek, who helped create Rashford’s goal, defended Maguire. “I heard as well [jeering],” he said. “I didn’t know really what happened. But Harry was playing well – he was aggressive, he got so many balls, so that means he has a big personality.”
Maguire made more than one potential goal-preventing intervention and unloaded long-range deliveries that had his manager at one point calling his name and displaying a thumbs up. The 29-year-old personified the quality on show in white. United were a whirring menace until they faltered towards the end when David de Gea weakly allowed Joel Ward’s header from a Palace corner to go in at his near post.
Patrick Vieira’s side had lost Jack Butland early on when in turning away from Martial, the goalkeeper saved the resulting effort ‘blind’, in the process injuring his right hand. He had to be replaced by Remi Matthews.
At this juncture a shot from Jean-Philippe Mateta had been Palace’s lone foray and came in-between the jeers of Maguire. These soon turned into gasps of admiration for an excellent United move that created the opening goal. Tyrell Malacia, in for Luke Shaw, switched play from the left to Diogo Dalot with a velvety pass via his supposedly weaker right foot. The Portuguese’s instant touch engineered space, the ball into Martial as decisive as the Frenchman’s chest-and-volley which gave Matthews no chance and the striker a goal in every game on this tour.
Palace were stunned but still went close to an equaliser seconds later. Malcolm Ebiowei twisted past Fred from the right side and let fly, forcing De Gea to dive left in order to make the save.
For long passages United offered fluidity and cleverness. Rashford embodied this in two moments. The first was a swerve inside and attempt at goal that reduced Matthews to a watching bystander. The second was a menacing cross from the left that bisected Palace’s rearguard and should have provided a second goal for Martial before half-time.
This was Palace’s first ever game in Australia – their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend was played in Singapore – and Vieira described his preparations for the game as “not ideal” given he only had 10 senior players with him here due to a combination of injuries and players not meeting entry requirements. Wilfried Zaha, Eberechi Eze, Marc Guéhi and Michael Olise were among the absentees.
Ten Hag made one change for the second half – Van de Beek for Scott McTominay. It worked a treat as United fashioned a second goal. The excellent Martial pulled a high Bruno Fernandes ball down with aplomb and fed Sancho. On went the Frenchman who received the ball back in the area and laid it off to Van de Beek who in turn squared it squared smartly for Rashford to score his second goal of the tour.
United’s third goal derived from a bright sequence. Rashford stepped forward and found Martial whose ball to Sancho released the winger into space. His subsequent finish was cool and clinical. After De Gea was beaten by Ward, Will Fish, United’s second-half replacement for Maguire, clumsily felled Victor Akinwale and, as last man, was sent off.
It was an unfortunate moment for Fish who had flown out to Australia ahead of the win over Melbourne Victory as a replacement for Axel Tuanzebe. But ultimately, the 19-year-old’s dismissal was merely a footnote to another 90 minutes of progress for United under Ten Hag.