Manchester United finished their pre-season with a hard fought 2-1 win over La Liga’s Valencia. Substitute Marouane Fellaini scored in stoppage time, his first, and quite possibly, last goal for the Red Devils. A feel good moment for Fellaini, who only played the last fifteen minutes but was either boo’d or sarcastically cheered, even after delivering a simple successful pass. His goal couldn’t have come at a better time, who turned a stadium full of critics into believers.
United’s win caps off a perfect, undefeated pre-season for Louis Van Gaal as the team now begins their focus strictly on Swansea City. To make the undefeated preseason more impressive, Van Gaal has been without several World Cup star Robin Van Persie and Adnan Januzaj made his debut today, and like Fellaini, only playing in the final fifteen minutes. Everyone knows that Van Persie will be a important player and it is expected Januzaj will also play a big part. When Januzaj came in as a sub tonight, he joined Wayne Rooney as a striker. A role he rarely played under David Moyes.
The big winner of pre-season has been Tyler Blackett, who once again started for United today. He was impressive yet again, possibly not to his form of the US-tour but still calm with the ball and made simple clearance passes out of danger. A very valuable feature for a defender to play with patience. With another strong performance, one has to think Blackett has locked up a spot in the XI for the teams first match of the season on Saturday.
Impressed by… Darren Fletcher, Ander Herrera and Phil Jones. Fletcher was great all game long. Feeding in good balls and tough in midfield. Herrera played that perfect Paul Scholes type-game. Good passing, good tackling, good tracking. Herrera was everywhere and played the way we all thought he would when he was signed. Jones was a rock on defense. Valencia had little chances early on and it was mostly due to Jones. He even had several close opportunities attacking. A header from a corner kick nearly ended up in the back of Valencia’s net.
Unimpressed by… Rooney, Ashley Young Juan Mata. Rooney just wasn’t himself. Bad touches on the ball, a missed penalty kick and ruining a breakaway by stopping and sending the ball back into the net. Young was active, but his crosses just were not as spot-on as they were during the previous preseason games. Mata didn’t do anything wrong, but he just wasn’t that “game changer” today. He wasn’t involved in the play much.
Looked good, but want to see more… Reece James. He looked great at times, overwhelmed at other moments of the game. He played with confidence and kept attacking down the left wing. Credit to James for playing a uptempo game and bringing the attack to Valencia. Only flaw to that was, at times, he was stripped off the ball very easily.
For those keeping track… in this type of match last year, the Old Trafford debut and final preseason match before the season started, David Moyes’ side lost 1-3 to Sevilla FC. The club seems years ahead of where it was just a year ago. New coaches, some new players and a white spray by referees, but the biggest change is that Manchester United winning attitude is back.
Man of the Match…. Easily, Jones. He was the rock on defense and helped dominate any attack Valencia brought forward. The only goal Valencia scored was a miscommunication error by Tom Cleverley and Herrera. That happens in pre-season but Jones has proven he is worthy of being a starter on this team.