Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was full of praises for attacking trio, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, after overseeing a 1-0 win over Italian giants, Inter Milan, in the International Champions Cup pre-season match between both sides in Singapore.
Despite only recording a narrow win, the Red Devils showed an attacking prowess, the kind which have been lacking in their style of play since the days of legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielded an attacking front of Martial, Rashford and new boy, Daniel James, with Lingard occupying the no 10 role, and the boss was pleased with the high intensity pressing displayed by his players.
“We’re getting better and better, definitely, ” said the Norwegian manager. “We’ve had three weeks now in pre-season, working on the intensity and pressing in training.”
“We’ve got players who like to press on the front foot. I don’t know how many times Jesse [Lingard] won the ball for us, but he’s one of the best ones in pressing football and Marcus [Rashford] is also very good at it. And you see Anthony [Martial] working hard to win a few balls for us as well, so that’s the way we hope to continue.”
“The mindset was really good. We were on the front foot pressing when we can. High energy, intensity, first-half with all the pressing we did.”
However, the trio couldn’t find the back of the net before they were replaced with Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood and Juan Mata mid-way through the second half, and the gaffer admitted that they lacked finishing quality in the match.
“Maybe we lacked a bit of quality in the last third, the last phase, the last finish, ” said the former Molde manger. “But, when the second XI came on, they even upped the level and it was great to see. We could have had two or three more goals.”
Credits: Manchester Evening News
17-year-old Mason Greenwood made the difference in the match, balancing himself and firing home in the 76th minute after the goalkeeper pushed an Ashley Young free-kick his way. The in form teenager has now scored two goals in pre-season after he got one in the 4-0 win over Leeds United in the Reds last match in Australia.
However, a notable absence for Manchester United was Belgian striker, Romelu Lukaku. The forward has been linked to Inter Milan throughout the summer, with Inter boss, Antonio Conte confirming his interest in him few days back.
Though Lukaku missed the match as a result of a reported ankle injury, the fact that he was not included, coupled with Ole’s comments after the match is a further assurance that the ex-Everton man’s time at Old Trafford is up.
Ole said: “I think we’ve done really well without Romelu [Lukaku]. But we know he’s one of the top, top strikers in the world, the number nines.”
Indeed, Lukaku has only appeared 15 times out of 29 competitive matches since the Norwegian took over from Jose Mourinho, with the manager preferring a fluid attack of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial most times.