Manchester United suffered their first loss of the pre-season as a late strike from Joao Felix led to a 1–0 win for Atlético Madrid in Oslo.
It was a fierce encounter and a friendly in name only, when Felix’s brutal strike broke the deadlock, sending United midfielder Fred into the closing stages for another bookable offense moments.
With a week until United’s first Premier League game of the season, Erik ten Haag has selected a squad that is likely to start next Sunday against Brighton – LIVE ON sky game – But Jadon was without Sancho due to illness.
Man Utd team vs Atletico Madrid
Starting XI: De Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Malaysia, Fred, McTominay, Elanga, Fernandes, Rashford, Marshall. Subsequent members: Heaton, Kovar, Telles Laird, Martinez, Ericsson, Garner, Pelistri, van de Beek.
Atlético Madrid, weeks behind in their pre-season preparations, made several changes to bring in Felix, Antoine Griezmann, lvaro Morata, Koç, Rodrigo de Paul and Saul in the middle of the second half. It was ultimately this injection of quality that changed the game for the Spanish side.
Christian Eriksson made his debut from the bench and provided some dangerous moments for United, including a corner in which Harry Maguire missed a free header from close-range just five minutes before Felix’s winner.
For Ericsson and some other players who did not start on Saturday, Sunday will be a chance to play in United’s final pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford.
United manager Ten Haig said those who started would not play against Ray Vallecano, but added that “there are players who can start tomorrow”.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who this week reiterated his desire to leave United, appeared to confirm he would play that game on social media on Friday night: “Sunday, the king plays”.
The 37-year-old forward was training with the rest of the United team – largely young players – who stayed behind at Carrington on Saturday and posted a picture from the session on his social media, captioned: “Work in progress “.
United’s other new signing, Lisandro Martínez, was an unused substitute and is expected to be up against Rayo Vallecano.
Ten Hugs ‘Not Satisfied’ After Atletico’s Loss
Manchester United manager Eric ten Haag spoke to MUTV:
“I think it was a tough workout and I think we contributed really well. I think our team’s performance was really good.
“In the end it’s all about the result, and the score wasn’t good. If you create chances you have to take advantage. I think we created a lot of chances to score at least one goal – at that point, I’m satisfied No. I have told the team that this is not acceptable.
“I like competing, but with respect. I don’t even want to get hurt. So you have to have respect for each other. I’ve seen some tackles that are probably a little over the limit.”
Sancho’s absence sheds light on Man Utd problem area
Sancho’s form in the pre-season has been one of the most promising takeaways for United this summer, but his absence against Atletico has exposed his right arm’s lack of attack depth.
Anthony Elanga, who is more comfortable on the left, filled in for the 22-year-old but had a quiet afternoon and was bullied by Atletico on several occasions, facing some heavy picks.
As a result, United were once again one-sided, with most of their attack coming down the left, which ultimately served to keep Atlético’s task more straightforward.
There were half chances for Rashford and Marshall in the first half, but Oblak was on hand to halt the England international’s effort and the French fired under pressure through goal.
Rashford and Elanga continue to show they are unaffiliated on the right, leaving United needing another forward to share the workload with Sancho.
United’s pursuit of Ajax forward Anthony reportedly dealt a blow this week as the Dutch club raised its valuation of the winger to €100m.
With more than a month left, Ten Hag will be concerned with the slow nature of their business, with lots of problem areas to fill in. The right to attack is certainly among them.
Ericsson excited in Man Utd debut cameo
Ericsson made his debut for his new club in Oslo to applause from the United-dominated crowd.
Despite entering the field with only 20 minutes to play, Ericsson missed the class and demonstrated why Ten Haag fought so hard to get him to Old Trafford.
The Denmark international was serving in midfield with anchor Fred in a central role with substitute Donny van de Beek.
Almost immediately, Ericsson delivered a cross in the box, which exposed United’s lack of a cutting edge lead up to that stage, in which Rashford failed to connect with a sure-fire goal.
The Dane created the spark to break the deadlock with about 15 minutes left as his corner found Maguire free in the middle of the penalty area, only for his captain to miss the goal, the best chance of the game for United.
Ericsson’s performance in Oslo and training has impressed his teammate, Elanga, who said: “You can see it in training as well, just his little touches and the way he scans around the pitch.
“He is a top player to work for and you can see his qualities on the pitch, I am sure fans will see more and more of him this season.”
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