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Three things learnt from Manchester United’s penalty shoot-out victory over Real Madrid

Manchester United

Manchester United

Three things learnt from Manchester United’s penalty shoot-out victory over Real Madrid

Manchester United survived a second-half scare to beat Real Madrid on penalties in California, in what was possibly the worst penalty shootout of all time.

Jesse Lingard opened the scoring for United just before half time, but his strike was cancelled out by a Casemiro penalty in the second half after a poor challenge from Victor Lindelof.

The Red Devils won the shootout 2-1, with only Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Daley Blind and Madrid’s Luismi Quezada able to convert from the spot.

So what did we learn from Mourinho’s men’s victory over his former club?

Lindelof has a lot to learn

Manchester United’s £30 million defender once again proved yesterday that he is far from a polished player. The Swedish international’s clumsy challenge on Theo Hernandez in the second half gifted Madrid a penalty which Casemiro tucked away – and that was just the start.

Gifting Los Blancos a penalty wasn’t the Swede’s only cause for criticism. Lindelof often looked half-a-yard off the pace and appeared the easy target for the young Madrid side fielded in the second half.

Right at the death, the 23-year-old had a chance to redeem himself with a spot kick of his own, but determined to make this a night to forget, he rolled the ball straight down the middle into the welcome hands of Casilla.

The poor performance didn’t go unnoticed by United fans, who took to social media to vent their frustration:

After two errors against LA Galaxy cost United two goals earlier in their tour, this has been a poor pre-season for Lindelof. Mourinho will have to think long and hard about whether their new defender is ready for the Premier League come August 13.

 

Martial and De Gea show Mourinho why they are so important

Anthony Martial and David De Gea were two of United’s stand out players despite being caught up in transfer speculation.

Martial, who was one of only two players to play the entirety of the game, has not been consistent enough since signing back in 2015. However, against Madrid he showed the potential he has and why letting him go at just 21 years of age would be a huge mistake.

The French international caused Madrid’s almost full strength defence a nightmare with his pace, vision and creativity. The icing on the cake was his sublime assist for Lingard’s opener.

Down the left, Martial took on three Madrid players and wriggled his way through them all before casually rolling the ball to Lingard, who would have had a harder time missing.

Missing the opening spot kick put a little blemish on the forward’s game, but it was during the shootout that De Gea stepped up to the plate to secure victory for United.

The Spaniard, who had come on at half time, has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid and he proved to Mourinho and Zidane why they should both do everything to secure his services.

Madrid youngsters Dani Gomez and Luis Miguel Ouezada both had goal-bound efforts saved in the second half as De Gea kept his side in the game.

Although he was unable to save Casemiro’s penalty in regulation time, it didn’t phase the big keeper ahead of the shootout. Kovacic and Rodríguez had both their penalties saved by the Spaniard, before Hernandez and Casemiro missed the target with their efforts to hand United victory.

Manchester United have the potential for an extremely successful campaign

It is important to not read too much into pre-season form, but United have now beaten MSL sides LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, Manchester City and Real Madrid in the space of seven days.

United are building a strength in depth they have not been able to rely on in the past few years and in Martial, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford they have a potentially title-winning strike force.

Behind them sit the likes of Paul Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata, Lingard and Ander Herrera, who have the flair and creativity to play attractive, forward-thinking football which can open up the tightest of defences.

If Mourinho can engineer a back four or five from the players at his disposal, which he can rely on to keep clean sheets and make oppositions’ lives difficult, then United may just have a winning formula.

The biggest challenge facing Mourinho this season is consistency. The talent is there, the optimism is returning and signing players such as Lukaku shows the intent remains, but now they need to prove it on the field when the season starts.

If they do, United have the potential to be a force to be reckoned with.

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