Manchester United overcame Real Madrid this weekend, and here are five things we learned from the match.
Manchester United continued their impressive pre-season form with a 3-1 victory over Real Madrid on Saturday. And while some will point to the uncompetitive nature of the games as reason enough for United fans not to get too excited, it is markedly different from their travails last summer.
Here are five things we learned from United’s victory over the La Liga club:
Young a changed man
Whether Ashley Young can maintain his fine pre-season form once the real competitions kick off later this month remains to be seen. But following his two goals against Real, it is clear the reinvented wing-back is thriving under Louis van Gaal.
There is absolutely no reason why Young cannot keep this going in the Premier League. He has shown he can adapt to United’s new formation and now the only thing that can stop him excelling is himself.
Keane is still learning
Big things are expected of Michael Keane, but it was he who gave away the penalty that was won and converted by Gareth Bale.
With United set to play three centre-backs in the majority of their matches next season, Keane could well see himself faced with a make-or-break campaign, and matches against the likes of Real can only be a good thing. But he has to learn quickly, and cut out the mistakes in the coming months.
Fletcher could still be significant next season
Darren Fletcher was one of the players who saw his role under new boss van Gaal questioned by pundits and fans alike. And yet, against Real the Scottish international shone in a deep position, spraying passes all over the pitch and looking assured throughout.
His experience will be vital next season, especially if United do not significantly strengthen in central areas.
Herrera keeps on impressing
We have known for quite some time that United needed more quality in midfield, and they have bought exactly that in the form of Ander Herrera.
The former Athletic Bilbao player impressed once more on Saturday, this time against a side he knows well from his time in La Liga.
Surely Kagawa will get chances
A fine pass from Shinji Kagawa set up Javier Hernandez for his goal and the Mexican was quick to acknowledge the importance of the Japanese international in the build-up.
Rumours persist that Kagawa could be on his way this summer. But van Gaal knows quality when he sees it, and the former Borussia Dortmund play-maker has done plenty this summer to show he can thrive in the Dutchman’s new formation.