Manchester United’s final pre-season friendly against Valencia ended in a 2-1 victory ahead of the new premier league season. It was United’s final chance to get used to the new formation before the season opener against Swansea on Saturday. Darren Fletcher and Marouane Fellaini scored the goals for United.
Ander Herrera made his first Old Trafford appearance as did new manager Louis Van Gaal, but there was no place for Luke Shaw in the squad due to an injury.
United made the better start of the two teams, and were controlling the game and the speed of it for opening 5 minutes. We never really let Valencia see much of the ball but neither team had any clear cut chances to score.
It was a very dull half in all honestly. Valencia came closest after a weak shot from Feghouli. United came close on 22 minutes from a Phil Jones header which was saved comfortably. But then United had the best chance of the half on 33 minutes, a penalty was given for a push on Wayne Rooney. Rooney himself took the penalty but was denied by the post.
The second half started the same way, and United were lively and on top straight away. It took just four second half minutes for United to open the scoring, as Fletcher’s deflected effort found its way into the net and it was 1-0. United dominated again for the next 10 or so minutes and nearly made it 2 on 60 minutes, but a mistimed jump from Hernandez saw another chance go begging. United made a host of changes on 62 minutes as others looked for fitness ahead of the season.
Valencia started to threaten straight after the United goal, and nearly scored on 65 minutes only to see it cleared off the line by Hernandez. Then on 71 minutes, Valencia did equalise through Rodrigo, who fired home for Valencia after poor defending from Cleverley. Valencia’s dominance nearly got them a second goal 2 minutes later but saw the effort again cleared by Hernandez.
Adnan Januzaj and Marouane Fellaini made their first appearances under Van Gaal and in pre-season as they look to gain fitness after an extended break after the World Cup. United instantly improved and Fellaini seemed to control the game, and broke up Valencia’s attack with ease. Januzaj looked sharp when coming on, but failed to really create a clear cut chance.
Everytime Fellaini touched the ball and made a simple pass, he was greeted with ironic cheers and boos from some embarrassing fans around the ground, who had made no noise all night up until then. In added time, Fellaini silenced the haters, and won United the game, doing what Fellaini did so well at doing when at Everton. Some poor defending by the keeper and defender left Fellaini to chest it down and pass into an open net.
It was a great pre-season for Van Gaal and United, with 6 wins from 6, scoring 18 goals and conceding just 5. It is going to be exciting to see his first 11 this weekend in the first premier league game of the season against Swansea. Blackett performed brilliantly all tour and has a great chance to get himself into the squad for the first game. Get ready for a fun season!