Erik ten Hag said he wanted his side to become a ‘pressing machine’ as Manchester United ran out 2-0 winners against Arsenal in the first game of their pre-season tour of America.
United had already beaten Leeds and Lyon in their opening two pre-season fixtures, though their travelling squad has been bolstered by their returning internationals for the trip across the Atlantic.
New United captain Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring with a speculative 20-yard effort that should perhaps have been better dealt with by Aaron Ramsdale, before Jadon Sancho made the most of a Gabriel error to race in behind the Arsenal defence before thundering past the Gunners’ number one to make it 2-0.
United changed all 10 of their outfield players at half-time, while Arsenal gave their players 60-70 minutes before they made wholesale changes as both sides continue their respective pre-season preparations.
Despite Manchester United running out 2-0 winners in New Jersey, there was a rather strange penalty shootout at the end of the game, though United ran out 5-3 winners as Fabio Vieira blazed his spot-kick over the bar to gift United victory in the shootout.
Speaking after the game, United boss Erik ten Hag said he was pleased with his side’s performances as he tries to hone a defined style of play during the pre-season period.
“Very good. I was really pleased with the way we played. I was really pleased how active we were in and out of possession. That is the way we want to play,” he told MUTV.
“This is the only period of the year when you can really work in training and translate it to games without consequences. But still, we want to win, and I think the lads showed that and played a good game.”
United showed a hunger and desire to press Arsenal, and the Dutchman outlined his desire for his side to become a ‘pressing machine’.
“I think we did well. We want to be like that, we want to be a pressing machine,” he said. “You have to do everything with togetherness. It is so important and today we did it in both halves.”
For the third game in a row, youngster Kobbie Mainoo impressed in the Manchester United midfield, setting up the opening goal as part of a dynamic and confident display.
While Ten Hag said he has confidence in the 18-year-old, he said that the standards are high for any of the club’s talents to break into the first team.
“It’s fantastic. Manchester United is about always bringing young players up, and he can be one, but we have to see. We have confidence, he is playing with confidence, and I really liked his performance. He has showed it, but in spring he got injured, so we are really happy.
“There are more youngsters with us now, and they are all doing very good, but I don’t want to raise the expectations too high.
“We have to see. Premier League is tough, but you can see we definitely have some really good young players who can play a role in our squad, but, the bar is high.”