New coach Van Gaal credits United defenders

The Red Devils continue unbeaten pre-season tour with 3-1 win over Real.

Agencies August 03, 2014

LONDON: Manchester United defenders have impressed new coach Louis van Gaal in their unbeaten pre-season tour with the Dutchman lauding the backline for adapting well to the new formation he has introduced since arriving at the club last month.

United defeated European champions Real Madrid 3-1 in the International Champions Cup match on Saturday to advance to Monday’s final of the eight-team tournament against Liverpool in Miami.

The 20-time English champions have produced encouraging displays in the US, also beating Roma and Inter Milan, as they prepare for the start of the season under the 62-year-old coach.

United have played their tour matches with three centre backs and it will probably be the former Netherlands coach’s preferred formation this season.

“It’s amazing that they have picked up a new system like that, because it’s not new for [Juan] Mata, for example — he plays in his position. Neither for [Wayne] Rooney, [Danny] Welbeck nor the two midfielders,” said Van Gaal in the post-match press conference.

“The greatest impact with this new system is on the back line. But we only conceded one chance in the first half and two in the second.”

Two first-half goals from Ashley Young and an 80th minute strike from substitute Javier Hernandez ensured United’s victory, while  Real’s only goal came in the 27th minute when Gareth Bale converted from the spot after he was fouled in the box by Michael Keane. Van Gaal said Keane and fellow defender Tyler Blackett would grow better with experience.

“It’s a very good result for us and it gives confidence to the players. I changed players in the second half but in spite of that, we scored again.”

Meanwhile, Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said: “We are not happy with the defeat [against United],” Ancelotti told a news conference at the University of Michigan stadium in Ann Arbor. “But I am sure we are going to play with a different spirit in the European Super Cup [August 12].”

Sanogo-Campbell double act enthuses Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell would be given chances to shine this season after both youngsters impressed in the 5-1 friendly demolition of Benfica.

Sanogo, a 2013 signing from Auxerre, scored four times in Saturday’s Emirates Cup encounter, while Campbell, who has spent the last three seasons out on loan, scored once and supplied one assist.

“Football surprises you always,” he told journalists at the Emirates Stadium. “Not only you, but me as well.

“Sanogo was injured for basically two years before he came to us. If you look at his goal-scoring record before he got injured, it is quite frightening. [However, you can see] he has a big future here, of course. He is 21 years old.”

In other friendlies, Monaco drew against Valencia, while  Barcelona faced a similar result against Nice. Manchester City lost to Olympiakos on penalties 5-4.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2014.

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