Five talking points as Man Utd thrash Leeds 4-0 in pre-season friendly

By Mirror: Wednesday, July 17th 2019 at 22:08 GMT +3 | Football
Manchester United ran out winners over rivals Leeds [Courtesy]

Manchester United outclassed rivals Leeds as the two rivals took on each other for the first time in eight years at Perth's Optus Stadium.

United won 3-0 back in 2011 in a League Cup tie and 2,857 days later it was a similar story, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side triumphed in front of a 55,274-strong crowd in Western Australia.

Just as he did in the first game, Reds boss Solskjaer changed his entire line-up at the break, ensuring he was able to give game-time to as many of his squad as possible.

Mason Greenwood opened the scoring early on, with Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and Anthony Martial adding further goals to complete a comfortable win for United over Marcelo Bielsa's Championship side.

Here are five talking points from today's game Down Under:

1. Pogba underlines his class again

To get the latest soccer news, text 'SPORTS' to 22840.

Having come on in the second-half of United's 2-0 win over Perth Glory on Saturday and taken control of the game, Pogba started against Leeds and underlined his enduring value with a moment of quality that led to the opener after seven minutes.

Pogba's expertly-weighted pass, in behind the Leeds defence, allowed Aaron Wan-Bissaka to steer a first-time cross into the six-yard box, from which Mason Greenwood was able to convert.

Daniel James takes on the Leeds midfield [Courtesy]

Pogba's future remains uncertain, but his importance to United is evident. His range of passing and weight of the delivery, particularly to Rashford, was sublime, while he twice came close to scoring himself in the first half. No wonder Solskjaer is so desperate to hang on to him.

2. Rashford on fire once again

Marcus Rashford opened the scoring in United's first tour game, a 2-0 win over Perth Glory, and the England striker was at it again here against Leeds, plundering a fine second for Solskjaer's men.

Rashford admitted he wants to get 20-plus goals next season, after being stuck on 13 for the past two campaigns. His goal here was a thing of beauty, latching on to Pogba's fine ball, sending defender Gaetano Berardi the wrong way, before opening up his body to dispatch the ball into the far corner with a cool finish.

It was similar to his goal in a 1-0 win at Manchester City in 2016 when he humiliated Martin Demichelis before scoring, but the key for Rashford this coming season is to do so on a more consistent basis.

3. Greenwood pushes his claim

Before United kicked off their tour with their opener against Perth Glory, Solskjaer vowed that 17-year-old striker Mason Greenwood, handed his debut last season, would get more opportunities to stake his claim for a regular place in the first-team squad.

And Greenwood, scorer of 30 goals in 29 Academy games last season, pushed that claim with an assuredly-taken first-time finish to open the scoring after seven minutes.

With Romelu Lukaku set to join Inter Milan, there is likely to be an imminent opening within the United squad for Greenwood to exploit and fill.

4. McTominay driving force in midfield

Marcus Rashford got all the plaudits for United's second goal, sending Leeds defender Gaetano Berardi the wrong way with a clever dummy, before applying a clinical side-footed finish into the far corner, beyond the reach of Casillas.

But it was the driving box-to-box run, through the middle of the pitch, by Scott McTominay, that made the goal possible.

Marcus Rashford was on the scoresheet for the Red Devils [Courtesy]

McTominay, who made 13 starts last season in all competitions, is another young player from whom Solskjaer expects big things this season, and the 22-year-old impressed here, anchoring the midfield to allow Pogba to express himself further forward, then breaking himself when he could, as he showed with his lung-busting run and delivery to Rashford for the second goal.

5. Leeds struggle with limited squad

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsea brought just 16 players to Australia for the games against Manchester United and Western Sydney Wanderers, with several of his squad having stayed behind in the UK to work on their fitness ahead of the new campaign.

Against that backdrop, it's difficult to gauge much from this Leeds display, ahead of a season that has assumed such importance after the agony of missing out on promotion to the Premier League last season, having led the Championship for so long.

Leeds had chances here, Patrick Bamford's shot saved by Sergio Romero, but they were always second best here, with work to done on sharpness and fitness before their season opener at Bristol City on August 4.

Winners and losers

Winners:

Paul Pogba: Underlined his enduring value to United with a compelling first-half outing. His passing range and delivery were superb, and he twice came close to scoring himself.

Marcus Rashford: Two goals in two games for the United and England forward on tour. His goal here was sublime, a drop of the shoulder to create enough room for an assured angled finish.

Mason Greenwood: Solskjaer has already promised the 17-year-old forward he will get a chance to stake his claim this season, and his cool finish for the opener will only have enhanced his case.

Losers:

Leeds: Marcelo Bielsea and his players will have gained little from this chastening win, apart from game-time to build match fitness. With the new season just a fortnight away, there is much work to be done.

LATEST STORIES
POPULAR HEADLINES