Five things learned as Man United lose 1-0 vs Atletico Madrid (pre-season 2022)

MUFC lost 1-0 vs Atletico Madrid in Oslo today, but what did we learn from the encounter?

In typical style, Atletico Madrid’s bully-ball was on display from minute one, albeit in a pre-season friendly. Tackles were flying in during a high-intensity game. In the end, it probably served United well.

It felt like a proper old-school test, giving Erik ten Hag and his players something different to think about. For what it’s worth, I feel the Red Devils just shaded this one. They certainly controlled the play and carved out better opportunities.

Anyway, let’s get right into what we actually learned from the encounter.

There’s no such thing as a friendly against Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone’s men treat every single game the same, albeit this one had the ‘friendly’ label. It absolutely wasn’t one.

From the first minute, their players would go crunching into tackles, make cynical fouls and even throw themselves on the floor to waste time and stop momentum. I guess they’re getting prepared for the start of their season in the perfect way possible, huh?

They also left a lot on both Anthony Elanga and Harry Maguire, with the latter losing some blood in the process.

Tyrell Malacia can play

Man, Luke Shaw has a job on his hands to start games regularly this season. United’s first signing of the summer can absolutely compete at the highest level.

What impressed me most was his ability with the ball at feet. In the first half alone he’d play a couple of defence-splitting passes which resulted in genuine opportunities being created for United.

On top of his brilliant energy and effort, Malacia also looked pretty good from a defensive and positional standpoint. All the signs were massively encouraging.

Further additions needed in attack

Jadon Sancho was a late casualty due to illness. Suddenly, United looked pretty threadbare in the final third.

Anthony Elanga would step up in the absence of the Englishman, Facundo Pellistir was the only real option off the substitutes bench. Suddenly, United interest in winger Antony makes an awful lot of sense.

Thankfully, Sancho should be back for next weekend’s game, but no doubt the lack of depth had alarm bells ringing for Ten Hag. You’d like to think those issues will be addressed before the start of September.

Fred is going to be key

The Brazilian improved last season. However, this pre-season, Fred has looked ridiculously good. I know we have to take it somewhat lightly given these are friendly matches, though he looks perfect for this Ten Hag system.

I lost count of how many times Fred won back possession high up the field and got United moving in the right direction due to his crisp, incisive passing.

I do not say this lightly. He could be amongst the first names on the team sheet when fit this season. His sending off late isn’t really worth a mention.

Eriksen oozes class

We only saw him for twenty minutes, but man, he can play. With almost his first touch, Eriksen whipped in a stunning ball which just evaded Anthony Elanga, but it caused absolute mayhem in that Atletico Madrid penalty area.

More than that, though, Eriksen’s set-piece delivery was on-point, giving Maguire a free header. He also brings experience, leadership qualities and he’s a genuine playmaker.

It was really good to see him out there.

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About Jordan Street 19151 Articles
Mancunian. Red through and through. Season Ticket holder block E332.

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