Three things we learned as Manchester United continue flawless start under Erik ten Hag with win against Crystal Palace
Posted by  badge Boss on Jul 19
Erik ten Hag has made a flawless start (Picture: Getty)

made it three wins from three on their pre-season tour with a comprehensive 3-1 win against in Melbourne this morning.

The Red Devils recorded victories against Liverpool and Melbourne Victory in their first two matches, scoring eight and conceding once along the way.

Erik ten Hag has worked his new squad hard during their tour of Australia and Thailand but it’s paying dividends, with players and supporters alike impressed with the way the Dutchman has implemented his ideas on the club.

And the Red Devils continued that today with another impressive win, which saw goals from Anthony Martial, and .

Anthony Martial stakes claim for starting berth

Martial made it three goals in three games (Picture: Getty)

Few players have enjoyed as much as Anthony Martial.

The Frenchman had been expected to leave the club after appearing to shut the door on a return to Old Trafford following a loan spell at Sevilla.

But, with ’s future up in the air, Martial has seized an opportunity to start the season as the club’s first choice striker with a string of fine performances on the pre-season tour.

After netting in the first two games against Liverpool and Melbourne Victory, Martial made it three from three with an impressive finish against the Eagles with the opener midway through the first half.

Martial had missed a sitter just minutes earlier when Jack Butland’s strong hand kept the Frenchman’s effort out but he made amends by volleying home to put United ahead.

While Martial’s ability has never been in doubt, his hunger for goals has been questioned and his ability to fulfill Ten Hag’s demands of pressing from the front were far from certain.

But Martial’s shown an uncharacteristic willingness to adhere to the manager’s demands and he was once again harrying Palace’s centre-backs when United lost possession, which is a key departure from the past.

If Martial can keep this up, Ten Hag could well have saved himself millions in the transfer market.

Malacia and Dalot are evidence of Ten Hag’s methods

Malacia impressed on his first start (Picture: Getty)

Of the many leaks that emerged from United’s dressing room last season, one of the most regular was the squad’s complaint that they lacked coaching.

In truth, no ‘leak’ was needed – that much was evident from watching United at any point under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Ralf Rangnick.

But, while the players must take their fair slice of the blame, it is clear that they felt they needed more coaching in order to compete with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have clear philosophies and that’s evident in how their teams play.

No two players sum up Klopp’s effect on Liverpool than Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson.

The pair are arguably the best full-backs on the planet and they push so high up the field that they often play like wingers.

It’s not uncommon for the two defenders to switch the play from one side to the other, with Alexander-Arnold particularly prone to pinging a precise pass out to Robertson.

And there was an intriguing symmetry with how Tyrell Malacia and Diogo Dalot combined for Martial’s opener, which will have United supporters hoping that they’ll see similar tactics to that of Liverpool this season.

Malacia – who was starting in place of Luke Shaw at the MCG – found himself on the corner of the box and he cut back onto his unfavoured right foot to swing a ball over to Dalot.

Dalot received the ball and mirrored Malacia’s movement by switching the ball onto his weaker left foot.

The Portugal international clipped a delightful pass to the back post, which Martial took down excellently before applying the finish.

Maguire stands tall in face of boo boys

Maguire was relentlessly booed (Picture: Getty)

This season should be a fresh start for Manchester United’s squad but the remnants of the previous campaign linger over Harry Maguire.

Ten Hag confirmed earlier this week that Maguire will remain as United captain and he even suggested that he would be first choice, even with the imminent arrival of Lisandro Martinez from Ajax.

But Maguire clearly has some way to go to win back United fans as their supporters Down Under harshly booed the England defender’s every touch at the MCG.

Maguire’s name was whistled when the teams were announced before kick-off but it continued as the game got under the way, with supporters jeering as the defender came out of defence with the ball.

A bad season does not make a bad player but in any case, booing a player during a pre-season tour of Australia says more about the supporters than it does of Maguire.

Maguire crumbled at times last term as the pressure got to the defender, who would be the first to admit that his performances were not up to standards.

But he showed good resilience today, albeit in a friendly, by blocking out the noise and putting in a good performance.

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