Jose Mourinho’s second game in charge of Manchester United brought his first defeat as his team lost 4-1 to lively Dortmund side in Shanghai.
Gonzalo Castro scored twice for BVB while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also found the net before the break. Mourinho made changes at – and after the interval, but the substitutions did little to alter the course of the game. Ousmane Dembele produced the moment of the match to score Dortmund’s third before Henrikh Mkhitaryan added a consolation for United against his former employers.
Although this was United’s just second pre season game, we have only been training for 15 days while the Germans have been at it for over a month now, yet the lack of drive and the visible lack of sharpness must have been noticed by the Portugese boss. Here are a few things we learned from the game:
1. Memphis Depay is still off colour
A suitable first team position for the young Dutchstar could not be found by Louis van Gaal, but Mourinho is trying hard to accomodate him. Yesterday, he was employed up top as the lone forward, but he couldn’t do much. The former PSV man stretched the game a few times, had a few deft touches and showed some positive intent, but ultimately he was hauled off at half time without even a glimpse of a chance.
2. Are we defensively compact enough?
It seemed weird when Jose announced that Chris Smalling and Phil Jones would be his first choice centre back pairing, and it seems all the more weirder now given how out of sorts the latter looked yesterday. The right back position looks fragile as well, with Matteo Darmian being consistently inconsistent and with Antonio Valencia well past his best days. Eric Bailly is a promising centre back, but he has to be groomed well enough first which will take some time. One hopes that by the time pre season ends, we will have all our answers.
3. Mata proves his worth to Mourinho
Mourinho insisted on Thursday that he never wanted Mata to leave Chelsea when he was in charge and that it was the Spaniard who forced the move. Whether you believe that line or not, Mata certainly has a lot to offer this United side and he showed it against Dortmund. In an often stunted attacking line he was always available for the pass and capped his performance with an incredibly unselfish assist for Mkhitaryan against his former club.