Harry Maguire was given a rude awakening by fans, Tyrell Malacia has wasted no time in making his mark and Anthony Martial’s revival under Erik ten Hag continues… FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED from Manchester United’s pre-season win over Crystal Palace
- Man United beat Crystal Palace 3-1 in their pre-season friendly on Tuesday
- Resurgent Anthony Martial continued his hot form by scoring their opener
- Harry Maguire was booed by his own fans every time he touched the ball
- Tyrell Malacia looked solid at left-back and has hit the ground running at United
- Here’s five things we’ve learned from another solid performance under Ten Hag
Manchester United continued their excellent start to life under Erik ten Hag with 3-1 win over Crystal Palace in which their attack purred Down Under.
Anthony Martial looks a striker reborn as he notched his third goal in three pre-season games, while Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were also rewarded for enterprising performances by getting on the scoresheet.
Palace, stripped of several first-team regulars, carried little threat going forward as United dominated but Joel Ward headed home a consolation.
Here, Sportsmail’s CHRIS WHEELER looks at five things we’ve learned from another pre-season win for United under Ten Hag.
Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 3-1 in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday
If Harry Maguire hoped he could put a difficult season behind him and start afresh under Erik ten Hag, the Manchester United captain got a rude awakening at the MCG.
Maguire was booed every time he touched the ball in the first half, which is a concern for the player and his club given that most of the fans here were supporting United and not Crystal Palace.
Club sources at the stadium in Melbourne blamed the ‘pantomime booing’ on a minority of local fans, and there was certainly an anti-Maguire sentiment among some individuals heading for the game.
Harry Maguire was booed every time he touched the ball at the start of Tuesday’s friendly
It was a largely partisan Manchester United crowd inside the Melbourne Cricket Ground
He (left) was jeered when he led the team out having retained Manchester United’s captaincy
But the fact Maguire is being targeted even before the season has started does not bode well. United’s £80million defender struggled for form last season and was dropped before the end of the campaign. He was booed on England duty against Ivory Coast in March, and his family were the victims of a bomb threat at their Cheshire home the following month.
Ten Hag gave Maguire a vote of confidence by allowing him to keep the captain’s armband but warned that it will not guarantee him a starting place, and the decision to spend £55.3m on Lisandro Martinez will only increase the competition for places in central defence.
Maguire went close to scoring with a shot before half-time and the booing subsided in the second period, so he can only hope this was an isolated incident.
Martial’s turnaround under Ten Hag continues
Anthony Martial has been one of the success stories of this tour, raising hopes that the Frenchman could revive his United career.
When Martial stood in for Cristiano Ronaldo up front for the opening game against Liverpool in Bangkok, it felt like a move borne out of necessity that would have little bearing on the 26-year-old’s expected departure this summer.
Martial has frustrated a succession of United managers and when he left for an underwhelming loan spell at Sevilla in January, it felt like the end of his Old Trafford career.
But he has scored in all three games on tour, matching his total for the whole of last season when he got a solitary United goal against Everton in October, one for France against Ukraine and another for Sevilla against Dynamo Zagreb.
Anthony Martial opened the scoring with his third goal in as many games during pre-season
Martial seems more engaged under Erik ten Hag and it will almost feel like a new signing
Martial struck here in the 17th minute when he took Diogo Dalot’s cross on his chest and volleyed in from close-range. He was involved in United’s second and third goals after half-time as well, bringing down Victor Lindelof’s long pass with an exquisite touch before nicking the ball away from goalkeeper Remi Matthews as Marcus Rashford scored. He then slid a clever pass through for Jadon Sancho to go on and beat Matthews.
Martial seems more engaged under Erik ten Hag and it will almost feel like a new signing for United if the Dutchman can continue to get a tune out of the erratic striker. Given that Ronaldo is unlikely to be fit for the start of the season – assuming he stays at United and returns to training at some stage – Martial has put himself firmly in contention to lead the line.
Promising signs in pre-season for United
You have to remind yourself it’s pre-season and only so much can be read into these results, but the fact remains that Ten Hag now has three straight wins under his belt with an aggregate score of 11-2.
Liverpool were under-cooked in Bangkok, Melbourne Victory are an average A League side, and Crystal Palace arrived in Australia with just 10 first-team players. Still, this has been an encouraging tour for United, not just in the results but also in the performances under their new manager.
There was an interesting change of approach by Ten Hag in this game as he chose to keep his first-team on the pitch until the 65th minute before making wholesale substitutions.
Erik ten Hag now has three straight wins under his belt with an aggregate score of 11-2
The Dutchman changed all 10 outfield players at half-time in both the first two games, but only brought on Donny van de Beek at the interval here.
United were three goals ahead when the changes were made and Palace came into it after that. David de Gea, the one player who stayed on, will be disappointed he couldn’t keep out Joel Ward’s header from a corner having made his best save of the game moments earlier.
It got worse for United when teenage substitute Will Fish – who was flown out here as a replacement for Axel Tuanzebe – lasted less than 20 minutes before he was sent off for a foul.
Malacia already looks right at home at United
Tyrell Malacia hasn’t wasted any time making his mark at United after joining the club from Feyenoord in a £14.6m deal.
Malacia looked sharp in training in Bangkok last week and as a second-half substitute in the opening two games against Liverpool and Melbourne Victory.
Promoted to Ten Hag’s senior XI to make his first start for the club against Crystal Palace at the MCG, the Holland full-back took less than 17 minutes to play a part in United’s opening goal.
New signing Tyrell Malacia hasn’t wasted any time making his mark at United
The Holland full-back took less than 17 minutes to play a part in United’s opening goal
Malacia got down the left and played the ball into Dalot whose pass picked out Martial to score.
Dalot has also looked very lively on tour, firmly establishing himself as first-choice right-back ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Malacia is expected to provide the main competition for Luke Shaw at left-back with Alex Telles and Brandon Williams further down the pecking order, if they are still at the club when the transfer window closes on September 1.
All white on the night
United’s marketing department don’t miss a trick. Three days after unveiling the club’s new away kit in Melbourne, it was no surprise to see Ten Hag’s side playing in their white strip at the MCG.
In that sense, Crystal Palace were handy opponents: one of the two clubs had to wear a change kit, but you suspect United would have worn their new colours anyway.
Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Sancho, Shaw and Scott McTominay were the United stars on show in Federation Square for the Adidas event in front of hundreds of fans.
It was no surprise to see Ten Hag’s side playing in their white adidas strip at the MCG
Bryan Robson, Andy Cole and former kit man Albert Morgan were on hand to warm up the crowd for a little longer than they might have liked while we waited for the players to arrive.
Those clever marketing types at adidas had designed the stage to look like United’s dressing-room upside down to mark their tour Down Under and first appearance in Melbourne since 1999.
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