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A defensive mistake cost Man U big time against Barcelona. The Red Devils final match on USA soil was a 1-0 loss to Barcelona.

The Guardians Jamie Jackson wrote;” Manchester United closed their pre-season tour of America on a dissonant note by losing this fifth outing in what was a pedestrian showing from José Mourinho’s outfit.

The manager has serially stressed results do not matter and United’s time here is all about fitness and team gelling. Thus he will return home content with the five matches that have certainly kick-started that process.

Mourinho was however unhappy at his rearguard. “It was an open game, we didn’t defend well,” he said. “I’m not happy. But in the second half lots of changes for them and for us, but both teams play for the result we tried to equalise, they tried to keep the ball, possession and defend well so in second half the match was positive.”

United are due back in Manchester early on Thursday morning and will touch down with four victories under their belt as thoughts turn to the Uefa Super Cup meeting with Real Madrid in Macedonia on 8 August. Mourinho’s side face Vålerenga and Sampdoria in their final warm-ups before the trip to Skopje.

As Ernesto Valverde started with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez up top, Ivan Rakitić and Sergio Busquets in midfield, and Javier Mascherano and Marcelo as part of his defence, this was the strongest opposition United faced during their 18 days away.

So after those four previous wins the mission to achieve a clean sweep required what would be United’s most impressive victory of the trip.

The challenge began promisingly. Marcus Rashford, operating on the right of United’s 4-2-3-1, hit Romelu Lukaku with a ball that skidded towards the striker as he raced into the area. Lukaku connected but the ball was skied over Jasper Cillessen’s goal.

From here Barca dominated for most of the half though United had their moments. First up was Neymar who followed a dribble by hitting a shot straight at David De Gea. Next, Neymar fed Messi and he did the same – the No1 spilling this time before recovering.

Suarez now became the latest Barca player to find space between United’s lines. When he broke through the attempt this time tested De Gea and he saved well, conceding a corner. Messi went far closer when given another chance, the No10 beating De Gea but not the goalkeeper’s left post.

United found Barca’s ultra quick pass-and-go difficult to stem. They are not the first and will not be the last to do so. And to their credit when they managed to wrest the ball into their possession and rove forward questions were asked of Valverde’s unit.

Rashford and Paul Pogba, in particular, were keen to take the contest to Barca. The latter made one buccaneering run down the right that stretched the turquoise rearguard and earlier Pogba had turned Carles Alena neatly before blazing at Cillessen, the keeper beating ball away.

Rashford provided United’s best moment of the stanza. From a position on the left he raced toward goal, beat Suárez and Samuel Umtiti, and at close range smacked the ball at Cillessen, who repelled it.

Given Barca’s technical superiority, the last thing United wanted was to cede the ball needlessly. Yet they did so by clumsy passing and deciding, on occasion, to hoof the ball in the air from a goal-kick.

This, as Pep Guardiola argues, often means it comes back at you quickly. So it was that from a De Gea clearance Neymar was almost instantly in on the Spaniard and United were fortunate they did not concede.

Yet this giving away of ball led to Barca’s winner. This time United lost it near the Catalans’ area and defence quickly turned into attack. Daley Blind’s attempted pass went awry, Barca zipped forward, Suárez fed Messi, he threaded the ball into Neymar’s path inside the area, Antonio Valencia hashed a tackle, and the No11 made no mistake.

wing a second before half-time via a similar mix-up. Blind – again – was culpable, this time for a foul that gave away a free-kick when he downed Messi. The Argentinian took this and flipped the ball towards Suárez. Victor Lindelof did well to put his head on the pass but the act confused Chris Smalling and United only just escaped.

Barça deserved the advantage and started the second half holding a lead they would not surrender. For United’s final 45 minutes Stateside, Mourinho switched the same three players in defence as during the break of the 2-0 win over Manchester City in Houston.

Out went Lindelof, Blind and Smalling, and in came Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, and Matteo Darmian. Sergio Romero also replaced De Gea and Marouane Fellaini was on for Michael Carrick.

The good news for United was that the Messi-Suárez-Neymar trident was also completely removed. The bad news was proceedings lacked their previous stardust. If this killed the high-quality that had been on display, Barca still managed to pull United around to put Darmian under pressure, the left-back punting the ball into touch.

Andres Iniesta was on for Barça and a genius of a midfielder will have been dismayed at the manner in which one pinpoint pass rebounded off Arda Turan – another substitute – for momentum to be lost.

To try and pull the match around Mourinho made two more changes on 62 minutes. Andreas Pereira took the anonymous Henrik Mkhitaryan’s place and Anthony Martial did the same regarding the similarly ineffective Jesse Lingard.

As De Gea had been, Romero was the busiest of the two keepers. The Argentinian was called into action when Paco Alcacer could shoot from a few yards and he was able to keep his side only a strike behind. At the other end Pereira twice took aim but could nor beat Cillessen.

At the death, Rashford might have nicked an equaliser but this would not have been deserved.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/27/manchester-united-end-us-tour-with-underwhelming-display-in-loss-to-barcelona

17 comments

  1. tophatal ........... · July 28, 2017

    Preseason doesn’t necessarily give you a glimpse of things to come , but it does set up the regular season for great expectations . Let’s just hope it’s not all , one big letdown .

    http://www.premierleague.com/news

    Tophatal ………

    Like

    • Bobby Gee · July 28, 2017

      I sure hope not. Bale is the target of Jose Mourinho. We will see what happens

      Like

      • tophatal ........... · July 28, 2017

        Real Madrid would be stupid to allow Gareth Bale to leave . He is one of the top-five midfield players in the world and he is also very productive goal scorer .

        Like

      • Bobby Gee · July 28, 2017

        This is what is being reported in the Daily Mail

        Like

      • tophatal ........... · July 28, 2017

        How much do you believe Chelsea would be prepared to pay for Gareth Bale , with the Welshman joining the Premier league team ? Would be in excess of $150 million or possibly more ?

        Like

      • Bobby Gee · July 28, 2017

        Whatever it takes the Blues would spend to get Bale and steal him from Man U

        Like

      • tophatal ........... · July 29, 2017

        Man U at has a great deal of depth at the midfield position . They don’t need Gareth Bale and neither do Chelsea .

        Like

      • Bobby Gee · July 29, 2017

        I know but this cat is a game changer

        Like

      • tophatal ........... · July 29, 2017

        Game changer or not this simply shows that the UEFA rules put in place , doesn’t mean $hit to the teams and their abiding by the rules (keeping their balance sheets in check) and not being in debt above the levels designated

        Like

      • Bobby Gee · July 29, 2017

        I know yet they have to enforce the rules

        Like

      • tophatal ........... · July 31, 2017

        UEFA enforcing rules is like asking a politician not to accept a bribe . You know it’s not going to happen .

        Like

      • Bobby Gee · July 31, 2017

        I know yet if this is to stop then the laws need to be enforced

        Like

      • tophatal ........... · July 31, 2017

        FIFA has laws to govern world soccer and look at how Sepp Blatter as its former President flouted those laws , selling the World Cup off like a whore opening up to offer their service to the highest bidder . Rules and laws are no longer abided by those at the top of the food chain. Those individuals see themselves above the rule of law and any rules which actually exist .

        Like

      • Bobby Gee · July 31, 2017

        This not the way it should work. Check out the latest piece on the Barca-Real match in Miami

        Like

      • tophatal ........... · July 31, 2017

        I know it’s not the way it was meant to work , but FIFA and UEFA remain as bleak as ever when it comes their wish to act appropriately .

        Like

  2. tophatal ........... · July 31, 2017

    I’ve read and commented on your most recent piece.

    Like

    • Bobby Gee · July 31, 2017

      Thanks

      Like

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