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Erik ten Hag suffers first loss Manchester United lose Atletico Norway

Image of Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag.
Credit: Giannis Papanikos/Shutterstock.com

Atletico Madrid inflicts the first pre-season defeat on Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United side, with a 1-0 win in Oslo.

 

Manchester United fell to their first pre-season defeat on Saturday, July 30, losing 1-0 to Spain’s Atletico Madrid in Norway. Erik ten Hag’s reign as manager of the Red Devils has got off to a sublime start, watching his new team win three and draw one during their warmup tour.

 Rayo Vallecano will visit Old Trafford today, Sunday, July 31, in the final pre-season match. It has been rumoured that Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo could feature against the Spanish LaLiga side, after the ongoing saga of his possible departure from the club. There has still not been any official statement about his future.

The 2022-23 Premier League season kicks off next week, with United facing Brighton at home, and Dutch coach ten Hag will surely be looking for his players to continue the good form they have shown so far.

A thunderbolt strike from Portuguese striker Joao Felix three minutes from time was all that separated the two teams in Oslo. United had deserved at least a draw after creating a hatful of chances that were squandered.

New signing Christian Eriksen made a welcome debut off the bench in the second half. The Danish playmaker instantly took control in midfield and set about creating chances for his teammates. That is a good sign for his coach that he is already settling into his new surroundings.

United’s new Dutch defender Lisandro Martinez was a non-starter, and Jadon Sancho missed out through an overnight illness. Anthony Elanga and Marcus Rashford both saw shots on goal foiled, while a late goal attempt from Facundo Pellistri was also blocked.

Atletico played in their typical aggressive manner, although it was one of United’s men who ended up with a red card. In the final minute of the match, Brazilian midfielder Fred was shown a straight red after he stomped on Alvaro Morata.

Considering the match was a friendly, and there was no limit on substitutions, ten Hag’s insistence on waiting for the 70th minute to introduce his first sub was slightly baffling. Atletico’s Argentinian coach Diego Simeone used 10 subs in total, but again, not until the 60th minute, bringing all 10 onto the pitch in one go, including Felix,  the man who notched the winner.

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