Man Utd pre-season: Tahith Chong impresses on debut
United are without a host of stars in the US but salvage a draw with Club America
Manchester United got their pre-season under way with a 1-1 draw with Mexican side Club America in stifling Phoenix, with temperatures above 40C.
“Club America offered stern opposition for Jose Mourinho’s men, who had to rely on a late strike from Juan Mata to salvage a draw,” says the Daily Mirror.
“Henry Martin had headed the Mexicans into the lead in the 59th minute, but Mata pounced on a loose ball in the box, firing through the goalkeeper’s legs, to ensure the game finished level.”
United have been without a host of players on the tour, with World Cup stars including Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku on holiday and Alexis Sanchez unable to travel with the squad because of visa issues.
“Mourinho claimed the same defence that started here - Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw – is also likely to start their first game of the new Premier League campaign because everyone else has been given time off to recover after the World Cup,” reports The Daily Telegraph.
One of the unfamiliar faces in the line-up was that of Tahith Chong. The Dutch teenager, who arrived at Old Trafford two years ago from Feyenoord, made his senior debut as a second-half substitute and impressed for United.
“Replacing Anthony Martial after the hour mark, the fearless 18-year-old immediately passed on instructions from the bench to his team-mates as Jose Mourinho shuffled the pack,” reports the Manchester Evening News.
“It did not take the shaggy-haired youngster long to make an impact… as he came up against men for the first time in his career.
“Keeping the ball in tight spaces, chipping in with his defensive duties, swinging in a teasing cross to the back post which helped set up United's equaliser… it was a taste of what is to come.”
Afterwards Mourinho heaped praise on the youngster, but insisted that he was not yet physically ready for the demands of the Premier League.
“Technically he is very good, tactically he understands the game and he understands his position but by the physical point of view, but when the game gets into contact situations he is in trouble, he is fragile, he is still a kid.”
Man Utd pre-season fixtures and results:
- 20 July: Man Utd 1 Club America 1
- 22 July: Man Utd vs San Jose Earthquakes, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, 10pm
- 26 July: Man Utd vs AC Milan, StubHub Center, Pasadena, 4.05am
- 28 July: Man Utd vs Liverpool, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, 10.05pm
- 1 August: Man Utd vs Real Madrid: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, 1.05am
- 5 August: Man Utd vs Bayern Munich: Allianz Arena, Munich 7.15pm
How to watch on TV:
All games will be shown live on MUTV.
Man Utd summer transfers:
Diogo Dalot, Porto, £19m
Fred, Shakhtar Donetsk, £47m
Lee Grant, Stoke City, £1.5m
Michael Carrick, retired
Daley Blind, Ajax, £18m
Sam Johnstone, West Brom, £6.5m