5 things we learned about Ten Hags Man Utd after pre-season comeback win

Manchester United recovered from an early scare to comfortably see off Melbourne Victory 4-1 to continue Erik ten Hag's winning start to their tour of Asia and Australia.

The Red Devils fell behind early on after Chris Ikonomidis took advantage of a piece of sloppy defending to slot home past Tom Heaton to hand the hosts a shock lead. But two goals in three minutes from Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial on the stroke of half-time put the Premier League side in front.

There was a swagger about United in the second half as Ten Hag's impact began to show, despite making 10 substitutions, as Marcus Rashford slid home late on to boost his morale before an own goal in the final minute to seal the win.

After making it back-to-back wins to follow their success against Liverpool, Ten Hag will be pleased with the progress his side are making in the early days of his reign. Here are five things Daily Star Sport learned from their latest pre-season victory in Melbourne.

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Martial back on song

Sometimes a change of manager is all it takes for a player to find their feet again and haul themselves back into favour — and it seems Anthony Martial is ready to spark a revival of his Man United career.

After a dreadful first half of the season and a miserable loan spell with Sevilla, Martial looked certain to be sold this summer. But the 26-year-old has shown there is hope yet for the Frenchman after being handed a lifeline by Ten Hag.

Martial looks fitter and hungry to make an impression, and that was reflected in his awareness inside the box to score against Liverpool. He added to that goal with a typical poacher’s finish, reacting quickly to stroke past the goalkeeper to hand United the lead. With more displays of this kind, United will quickly forget about the blow of losing Cristiano Ronaldo if Martial returns to form.

Ten Hag’s style taking shape

Short, intricate passes around the edge of the box and dominating possession by committing numbers forward. If this is the Ten Hag way, Man United fans can be excited about the prospect of this brand of attacking football coming to Old Trafford this season.

The shift in football philosophy has been widely documented by the players over the past weeks, but this was the first example of United trying to assert their dominance on an opponent after an end-to-end contest against Liverpool. Of course, the scoreline reflected negatively on the Red Devils for most of the first half, but their performance told a different story and would have encouraged the Dutchman.

Bruno Fernandes certainly appeared to enjoy his free role, floating around the edge of the box, while Anthony Martial could often be spotted dropping deep to get touches on the ball before exchanging one-twos with Anthony Elanga and Jadon Sancho. There seems to be an easily identifiable manner of playing now at Old Trafford — and Ten Hag will be hoping his side can continue working to implement his plan in the coming weeks.

Dalot’s telling selection

It might only be pre-season, but the decision from Ten Hag to select Diogo Dalot over Aaron Wan-Bissaka for a second game running may indicate which of the two right-backs he prefers at this early stage of his reign.

While his predecessor Ralf Rangnick started out with Wan-Bissaka before plumping for Dalot, the Portuguese full-back was back in the side to face Melbourne after featuring in the 4-0 win over Liverpool. And it seems there is a reason behind his thinking, with the 23-year-old showing the kind of attacking intent in the final third that Ten Hag will be demanding from his full-backs this season.

He showed his ability with an inviting cross which found Elanga and his clever assist found Martial to stroke home to give United the lead. With more energetic displays of this kind, Wan-Bissaka will find it difficult to win back his place.

Youngsters knocking on the door

Zidane Iqbal was one of the players to stand out from the bench after impressing against Liverpool in the centre of the park. And the young Iraq international midfielder took his chance after being handed some more valuable experience with a second-half cameo against Melbourne.

With quick feet and close control, Iqbal certainly is not lacking in confidence and demonstrated it with a sublime pirouette that his namesake would have been proud of. The 19-year-old has displayed some encouraging signs that he could break into the first team this season, with competition from Charlie Savage, Alejandro Garnacho, Amad and Facundo Pellistri.

Tyrell Malacia also came on to get another 45 minutes under his belt and the Dutchman, a £13m signing from Feyenoord, looked solid once again at left-back. But it was Iqbal who stole the headlines and at this stage, looks most likely to convince Ten Hag to hand him more minutes in the coming weeks.

Lindelof excitement fails to bring improvement

With no Raphael Varane in the squad, Victor Lindelof had a rare opportunity to impress his new manager after waxing lyrical about Erik ten Hag’s impact at the club.

"I think everyone is trying to look ahead and everyone is excited to work with the new manager and learn his style of play. I don't think we want to look back, we want to look forward and try to perform better." the centre-back explained to ESPN. "The training sessions have really stepped up. On day one he was explaining what he wants us to do. He's very good at paying attention to the details and that's the biggest change.”

But if that is the case, Lindelof will be hoping to avoid a dressing down from his manager when they go analyse the game together. The Swede was caught out of position as Melbourne easily picked apart the United defence on the break and Ikonomidis swept home from close range — and while Ten Hag would perhaps be forgiving given that it is pre-season, it will not do the centre-back any favours in his attempts to challenge Varane for a starting spot.


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