MAN UTD HAMMER WIGAN

Jose Mourinho made a winning start as Manchester United manager as his side secured a deserved and comfortable 2-0 victory in their opening preseason match away at Wigan Athletic.

Substitute Will Keane scored the first goal of the Mourinho era, tapping in after a blunder by 41-year-old goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen in the 49th minute. Andreas Pereira, another man who had come on for the second half, then rifled in another goal 10 minutes later.

Two of United’s summer signings made their debuts — attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan and defender Eric Bailly — while Ed Woodward looked on from the stands. Mkhitaryan was the stand-out player in the first half, despite missing one excellent chance, while Bailly grew in confidence as the game went on.

Left-back Luke Shaw also made his comeback for the club after 10 months out following a double fracture to his right leg. He was confident in making attacking runs forward and looked untroubled in terms of his movement.

Other noteworthy decisions from Mourinho included starting with Daley Blind at centre-back, despite the manager’s comments that he is not a fan of “multi-functional players.” Juan Mata, meanwhile, was left on the bench initially but brought on for the second half and impressed as the United manager made wholesale changes to the strong XI that started.

There were some high-profile absentees though, including United’s other new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the England trio of Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Marcus Rashford, plus Spain goalkeeper David De Gea, who are all resting after playing at Euro 2016.

United dominated possession from the early stages with Mkhitaryan, playing in the hole, setting up Jesse Lingard and Memphis Depay, who both failed to take their chances. Mkhitaryan then produced a disappointing miss of his own as he blazed over, unmarked, from Lingard’s cross.

Some showboating from Bailly, just before the break, highlighted his growing assuredness, but it was after half-time that United really stepped up a gear with the substitutes looking hungry. The opening goal came when Jaaskelainen’s kick charged down by Mata, who squared for Keane to tap in.

Another substitute Ashley Young caused problems and his free kick led to another goal as Pereira produced his fine finish. Former United forward Nick Powell made an appearance, coming on for Wigan in the 72nd minute, but the visiting team cruised to victory.

 

Credit: Today.NG

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