Man U keep low profile as Van Gaal grapples with tactics in US
United's new look team has not gelled on tour, despite Van Gaal's efforts to concentrate on the football
Manchester United's pre-season continued with a 3-1 win over San Jose Earthquakes, with goals from Juan Mata, new signing Memphis Depay and Brazilian teenager Andreas Pereira.
Louis van Gaal will be cautious about drawing too many conclusions from this year's jaunt to the US, last summer United were given rave reviews as they won all their pre-season friendlies but then started the Premier League campaign with five points from their first five games.
But that has not stopped the travelling media circus from running the rule over the side, who have no friendlies in the UK before the season starts.
Against San Jose the Daily Mail was particularly impressed with Luke Shaw "who established himself as the best player on the field and provided something of an insight in to why United paid so much money for him last summer". The paper was also struck by the understanding between Depay and Wayne Rooney in attack, and Ashley Young on the wing. Young also earned praise from the Daily Telegraph.
However, United, who fielded two entirely different teams in each half, were short of fluidity, says The Guardian. "At the moment United are rather far away from the slick and quick football machine Van Gaal wants," says the paper.
That could be a worry, as there is little doubt that Van Gaal regards the tour as a footballing rather than marketing exercise. The Earthquakes game was switched from 63,000-capacity California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley to the 18,000-seat Avaya Stadium three weeks ago at Van Gaal's behest because he was concerned about travel times to and from the ground.
There was some anger over the decision, says the Guardian, but Van Gaal will not worry about that. "What should exercise him is the strategy for the next two matches. The outings against Barcelona in Santa Clara on Saturday and Paris Saint-Germain next week are the manager's final 180 minutes before Tottenham visit Old Trafford on 8 August."
It was "somewhat strange", says James Ducker of The Times, to see a team that played in front of 109,000 spectators on their last tour and who regularly attract crowds of 80,000 when on tour, turning out in such a small ground.
"United, in general, appear to be keeping a lower profile in the US," he says. "Whereas Barcelona, who face United at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on Saturday evening, have opened up all four of their training sessions tomorrow and Friday to the media and selected fans, only one of United's sessions will be accessible to reporters, photographers and assorted supporters."