United endured a somewhat turbulent preseason tour exacerbated by a seeming lack of unity in the squad.
Apparent feud at the top hierarchy of the club sorely reflected in their games throughout as they struggled to reach the required level. However there were still some positives, here are three positives to take from the tour.
#1 The rebirth of Andreas Pereira
A victim of a number of managerial changes at Old Trafford, he is another what could have been of the post-Ferguson era. You could be very sure that his talent would have been explored to the fullest under Ferguson, but all hope is not lost as rightly pointed out by Pereira himself.
Afforded the most minutes by the manager on the tour in a largely unfamiliar role at the base of the midfield, he is one of a very few shining lights of the tour. After two straight seasons out on loan, this season could see him stake a claim in a very competitive and congested midfield.
Pereira is a blend of finesse and efficiency as he commanded play in a role his manager is somewhat adamant he can play. He was the reason why United’s transition to attack was faster than usual at the times they had the ball to feet.
Although his shortcomings were there to see in the defensive midfield role, his class is still evident. He has the brain and the eyes to pick any pass at the necessary time, and he does have the knack for scoring free kicks, doesn’t he? It will be a slap on the face if he doesn’t start the Premier League opener against Leicester.
#2 Sanchez and Mata partnership
Well, this one is a surprise partnership that turned out to be a hit on the tour, it got fans excited. Lacking first team strikers in Martial, Rashford and Lukaku, Mourinho produced a masterstroke with the pairing.
Both players had a relatively underwhelming 2017-18 season, Sanchez in particular failed to justify the hype that surrounded his transfer to Manchester United in January. After a visa hitch that threatened his participation, he made an instant impact when available and he formed a telepathic understanding with Juan Mata in an impressive fashion.
The two pint-sized and versatile players worked hand in hand, you don’t need to look further than the first goal against AC Milan in the preseason, they mesmerized fans every time they were on the ball, but a lack of general good play from the team meant that we saw a mere glimpse of their efficiency.
Mourinho is a man who sticks to his guts, and with other forwards just returning to the fold, the pair could be in line to feature in the first match of the EPL season.