Many Manchester United players left the club last month due to their obligations for their national teams at the World Cup. But with the tournament slowly going towards its end, the players who remained at the club are going through a type of a second pre-season. Erik Ten Hag’s team has been working hard and will continue to do so, even without so many first-team players, as they will have to be ready for what awaits the squad right after the World Cup, considering the club season will be continued just two or three days following the big final in Qatar.
That is why Man United went to Spain, to have short preparations in warm weather, playing two friendly matches. The first one, against Cadiz, was far from great, as Man United lost 4-2 to the 19th-placed La Liga side. Clearly, United were without most of their top players, but nevertheless, there were things to learn from this friendly loss.
Sleepy Start For Man United
When United conceded two goals inside the first 15 minutes of the match, it was clear that the team did not start the way Ten Hag wanted them to. The Red Devils were still asleep, they did not do well in defensive transitions, failing to move more quickly and with urgency. The second goal Cadiz scored brought a poor reaction from midfield as well and Ten Hag will definitely not be happy.
While United managed to get back in the game with goals from Anthony Martial and Kobbie Mainoo, it was still not enough for the team to keep their structure and composure, as Cadiz soon afterwards regained their lead once again. This is still a friendly, but it was obvious plenty of rustiness was in this performance.
Full-Backs Still Problematic
We had the chance to see plenty of United youngsters in this match, from Mengi as a starter, to substitutes like Savage, McNeill, Bernard, Emeran, Hansen-Aaroen and so on. But while it was not too big of a surprise to see that many of them are hardly going to be solutions for United in the future, or that they are going to get any chances in the first team, it was obvious that United still have problems with their back-up full-backs.
With Dalot and Shaw at the World Cup, droping some great performances, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams did not have a great time at Cadiz. They are the two players who have been largely forgotten at United and this time neither of them brought out a pretty good performance against Cadiz. They were shaky in possession, while also struggling when out of it. With United overly reliant on Dalot and Shaw, their injuries would create many problems, as Tyrell Malacia seems the only backup solution Ten Hag would go for in that scenario.
Zidane Iqbal Does Well Again
Of all the youngsters that got the chance in this match, Zidane Iqbal is the one that deserves by far the most praise. The 19-year-old did well for United during the summer pre-season and he was quite useful here as well. While others arround him struggled, Iqbal was doing good things when in possession of the ball, while also winning the penalty to get United back in the game. It will be interesting what plans United have for Zidane, as he could do with a loan move in the upcoming transfer window.
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