Sunday 18 March 2018

Five things we learned from Man United's 1-0 win over Club America

Morgan Schneiderlin wasted little time in making a difference to Man Utd's midfield in his first game

Morgan Schneiderlin scores his first Manchester United Goal against Club America
Morgan Schneiderlin scores his first Manchester United Goal against Club America

Mark Ogden

Five things we learned from the Red Devil's pre-season opener


Having become the first true defensive midfielder to sign for Manchester United since Owen Hargreaves in 2007, Morgan Schneiderlin wasted little time in filling an eight-year void on debut against Club America.

The France international, a £24m signing from Southampton, scored with a looping header after just five minutes, but it was his contribution at the heart of midfield which caught the eye.

Defensively, the 25-year-old was like a sponge in front of the back-four, soaking up pressure and breaking up Club America attacks.

But Schneiderlin was also creative, launching long passes and energetically covering the middle third while Michael Carrick sat deep.

With Schneiderlin, United now have the legs and energy that they have lacked for too long.

Read more: Comment: Has Louis van Gaal more money than sense?


Memphis Depay has arrived at Manchester United with a reputation for pace and goals from his time at PSV Eindhoven.

The 21-year-old started in a role just behind Wayne Rooney at CenturyLink Field and was a constant presence buzzing around the final third.

Manchester United's Memphis Depay (R) in action against Club America's Javier Guemez (L) Action Images via Reuters / Anthony Bolante

But on more than one occasion, the Dutch winger chose to go it alone with the ball rather than feeding a team-mate in a better position, with Ashley Young, in particular, showing his frustration at being ignored by his new team-mate.

Depay’s self-confidence is a strength, but a lack of awareness of his team-mates will be exposed if he fails to smooth off the rough edges in the Premier League.


Twelve months ago, Louis van Gaal welcomed Luke Shaw to Manchester United with a public criticism of the teenager’s fitness during the pre-season tour of the United States.

The left-back struggled to recover from his false start, enduring an injury-interrupted first campaign at Old Trafford which resulted in Van Gaal winning his battle for the 20-year-old to miss the European Under-21 Championships.

Manchester United's Luke Shaw (L) in action against Club America's Rubens Sambueza Action Images via Reuters / Anthony Bolante

Shaw has clearly spent his time off working himself into shape, however, with the former Southampton defender looking much leaner and fitter than a year ago.

Shaw was a constant in the Southampton team before arriving at United, but he needs to stay fit and build his confidence in order to make up for his disappointing first season.


Despite selling Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce and rejecting the chance to sign Radamel Falcao on a permanent deal, Louis van Gaal has yet to add to his attacking options, but United looked short of firepower in Seattle.

Memphis Depay has been suggested as an auxiliary striker with Wayne Rooney leading the line, but after those two, United are left with teenager James Wilson and Javier Hernandez, whose return from a season-long loan at Real Madrid has been delayed by a collarbone injury.

If Rooney suffers an injury this season, United would be worrying short of options and the picture of what that scenario would look like was evident in the second-half against Club America, with Wilson and Adnan Januzaj up front.

To compete for the title, United need to find a proven forward to replace Van Persie and Falcao.

Read more: Van Gaal set to splash £22m to secure Pedro


It is now two years since Adnan Januzaj burst onto the scene with a series of exciting performances during Manchester United’s summer tour of the Far East and Australia in 2013.

Manchester United's Adnan Januzaj in action against Club America's Jose Daniel Guererro (L). Action Images via Reuters / Anthony Bolante

The Belgian winger endured a classic case of second-season syndrome last year, struggling to convince Louis van Gaal of his worth following his impressive debut campaign under David Moyes.

Against Club America, Januzaj was a second-half substitute, but the 20-year-old failed to grasp his opportunity and stake his claim for greater involvement this season.

Read more: €50m La Liga defender says he wants out with Man United poised to swoop

With Van Gaal displaying a ruthless streak when dealing with players deemed not up to the job, Januzaj needs to grasp the nettle quickly.

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport