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Nemanja Matic solid, Paul Pogba quiet as Man United lose UEFA Super Cup

Manchester United lost 2-1 in the European Super Cup to a Real Madrid side who looked entirely like they had just won two straight UEFA Champions Leagues while United looked, by contrast, as if they are still piecing everything together.

Isco and Casemiro played with the freedom of centre-forwards, and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos barely lost the ball. United offered little that might tempt Gareth Bale away from the Bernabeu this summer but at the same time they showed just how much they need a player like him.

This was only a preseason match, but a considerable amount of work remains to be done.


Nemanja Matic instantly added composure, strength and elegant passing in midfield. Antonio Valencia looked good getting forward at times, and both Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini made positive impacts when they came on. David De Gea made some fine saves, too.


The midfield and defence all seemed to be getting to know one another with the result that Romelu Lukaku was often isolated. United's left flank offered negligible attacking pressure and Henrikh Mkhitaryan faded after a fine start. Paul Pogba flickered now and then but ultimately failed to impose himself on the game. Manager rating out of 10

5 -- Jose Mourinho's tactics of containment, letting his midfielders sit yards off the play, allowed Real Madrid to dictate the terms of the midfield and thus of the game. Anthony Martial would have been a far more troubling proposition for Dani Carvajal than Jesse Lingard, but did not leave the bench. United's players did not do themselves justice, but neither did Mourinho's strategy.

Real MadridReal Madrid
Manchester UnitedManchester United
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Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David De Gea, 7 -- Made a couple of notable saves, one of them superb to parry a close-range effort over the bar in the second half. Many will be relieved that United have retained his services.

DF Antonio Valencia, 7 -- Looked as ambitious in attack as he has in several months, particularly in the first half. Not as strong as usual at the back but still a good opponent for Bale.

DF Victor Lindelof, 5 -- A slightly unfortunate night. Was reasonable enough apart from playing Casemiro onside for the game's opener. Otherwise fairly good in positioning and passing.

DF Chris Smalling, 6 -- Not authoritative enough in the absence of Eric Bailly, though he cleared his lines fairly well most of the time. The centre of defence is currently lacking steel.

DF Matteo Darmian, 7 -- One of United's better performers. Up against Isco, he recovered well whenever in danger and showed a fine touch when bringing the ball out from the back, even launching one counter-attack. Was still too limited going forward, though.

MF Nemanja Matic, 7 -- Was behind the best of United's build-up play, looked defensively sound for much of the game and it was his parried drive that led to United's goal. Should prove to be an excellent acquisition.

Matic was strong in the heart of Man United's midfield though not enough to prevent defeat.

MF Ander Herrera, 5 -- A disappointing performance, where he was probably not deployed to his best, standing off the ball too often. Unable to make an impact with his usual high intensity, and when he was in possession, he seemed to snatch at the ball.

MF Paul Pogba, 5 -- The stage seemed set, and briefly so did he. But after some strong early runs, he drifted out of the play. He made a poor decision on the break early on, shooting instead of passing, and was either isolated in midfield or was not precise enough in his distribution.

FW Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 5 -- Was impressive for about 15 minutes at the beginning and at the end of the match, beating defenders with ease both with the ball at his feet or when he was flighting it delicately over or between them, but for the hour in between he was barely visible as a threat, losing possession too easily when on the break.

FW Jesse Lingard, 4 -- A poor performance, partly due to the fact that he was isolated but also that he lacked guile against Madrid's canny defence. Was little surprise when he was withdrawn.

FW Romelu Lukaku, 6 -- Avoided severe censure from the next day's headlines when he followed up a poor miss from close range with a much more assured finish with his weaker foot just minutes later. Had very little supply or support but showed good strength and quick feet when in possession.


FW Marcus Rashford, 7 (for Lingard, 46) -- Immediately added pace, skill and purpose to the left flank, though he really should have scored an equaliser for United when put through by Mkhitaryan with a small portion of the game still to go. The wing is not his position, but he acquitted himself well.

MF Marouane Fellaini, 7 (for Herrera, 56) -- There was trepidation when he entered the fray, but he held the ball up well and his passing was mostly precise. His presence up front made United far more threatening.

Musa Okwonga is one of ESPN FC's Manchester United bloggers. Follow on Twitter: @Okwonga.


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