The 2022–23 preseason campaign ended on a low note for Manchester United as they drew 1–1 with La Liga mid-table side Rayo Vallecano on Erik ten Hag’s Old Trafford debut.
The main pregame headlines for United were Cristiano Ronaldo’s return and ten Hag’s Old Trafford debut. Talisman Ronaldo barely lasted 45 minutes, unfortunately.
Ronaldo’s replacement Amad Diallo took the mantle well as he gave the hosts the lead a few minutes after coming on. Rayo’s Alvaro Garcia had other ideas as he later forced the La Liga team to draw even.
Ten Hag appeared furious at the final whistle following the result, and the inability of his side to create and convert chances. Seemingly, he still has some work to do as he prepares for United’s Premier League season opener on August 7 against Brighton.
Before kick-off, all eyes were on Ronaldo who is increasingly growing impatient with the team, with reports indicating that he is looking for a move to a Champions League side.
His plans have not changed, as reports would later reveal that the Portuguese forward left the stadium before the final whistle.
Ten Hag revealed that Ronaldo’s lack of match fitness made playing the entire match for Ronaldo very difficult.
He won’t be picked against Brighton in the opening league match as he is only expected to be fully fit by September.
Eriksen excels in midfield
Eriksen, who was signed last month, was introduced to the pitch by ten Hag, and his assured performance did not disappoint.
The Dane was a focal point for United as he linked Ronaldo, Donny van de Beek, and Alejandro Garnacho in the attacking third.
Ten Hag withdrew after an hour. His ability to orchestrate United’s tempo shows that Ten Hag has someone who can provide the much needed experience at midfield in the upcoming season.
Although Ten Hag made his mark during the preseason, their last two performances against Spanish outfits have raised serious concerns.
Ten Hag will be faced with some crucial decisions in the first weeks of the season after losing one match to Atletico Madrid in Oslo, and the recent lackluster draw against Rayo.
However, problems in full-back positions, a lack of a reliable ball winner, and the inability to find a solid Ronaldo replacement could be carried into this new season. Positive displays from debutants Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez should secure their places against Brighton.
The last two preseason matches for United did not end as most fans had expected according to Vwin. After a largely successful run of warm-up matches across different continents, Ten Hag’s first defeat as United boss happened in the hands of Atletico Madrid. His first match at Old Trafford was equally disappointing after drawing with Rayo Vallecano.
However, several positives come from the final preseason match at Old Trafford. The sight of Eriksen dictating events at midfield was a thing of joy for the United faithful. Lisandro Martinez also appears to be a player already made for the United center-back slot. Brighton provides a different assignment for the new United gaffer, and how he handles his first premier league match will be a discussion for the first few days of the season.