SHANGHAI • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that he will need to iron out the kinks despite clinching a perfect fourth win out of four yesterday to conclude Manchester United’s pre-season tour of Asia.
In Shanghai, the manager believes that ball retention is still an issue after watching the Red Devils beat fellow Premier League club Tottenham 2-1 in an International Champions Cup match featuring two sides who turned up for the tournament in Singapore last weekend.
“It was hard work and we made it harder than we had to in the second half, we didn’t keep the ball,” the Norwegian said, after also overseeing victories over Perth Glory (2-0), Leeds (4-0) and Inter Milan (1-0) in the past 13 days.
“And when you have the kick off and concede a throw in at the corner after 10 seconds, that isn’t a good start.
“We wanted to get on the front foot, get on the ball but we made it hard for ourselves. Then again it was a great goal by Angel (Gomes) – a great response and, all in all, the tour has been very good.”
Teenager Gomes, 18, squeezed in the winner 10 minutes from time in an occasionally bad-tempered friendly. Anthony Martial, playing in the No. 9 role, put United ahead in the first half, before Spurs substitute Lucas Moura replied with a scrappy effort in the second.
Despite the fierce humidity, there was an edge to the game not always present in pre-season friendlies.
The match saw many rough tackles, while United centre-back Eric Bailly had to be stretchered off after suffering a bad knee injury.
“It’s his knee,” Solskjaer said. “We’ve just got to do some scans. It doesn’t look great but let’s see.
“We want to get ready for the league and this was a really competitive game. But it was a good preparation. I have no qualms about some of the tackles. We didn’t just receive, we gave.”
He named a strong side that included wantaway midfielder Paul Pogba and new signings Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
We want to get ready for the league and this was a really competitive game… it was a good preparation.
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER , Manchester United manager, on the heavy tackles in the game.
His counterpart Mauricio Pochettino, fresh from a 3-2 win over Juventus in Singapore, fielded a more experimental team, but started the England duo of Dele Alli and Harry Kane, along with club-record signing from Lyon, midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, 22.
The Spurs boss was also optimistic despite the loss while apologising for the heated tackles.
United were incensed when Moussa Sissoko left winger James in a heap by the corner flag, suspecting a stamp by the midfielder.
Pochettino said: “There were more positives than I expected from this trip (to Asia). We need to build our fitness and the way we’re going to play this season.
“Yes, it’s true I was a little bit annoyed about some (tackling) situations (from both sides).
“Of course when you are so hot and sometimes you arrive late and it can happen. I apologise on behalf of our players to Man United.
“It’s not our intention.”
United face Norwegian side Kristiansund while Spurs play Real Madrid, both on Wednesday.
Off the pitch, Tottenham, who moved into a new 62,000-capacity stadium in March, announced a shirt sponsorship deal with life insurance company AIA worth a reported £320 million (S$546 million) over eight years. The previous deal would have expired in 2022.
United’s seven-year deal with US car maker Chevrolet remains the biggest such deal, understood to be worth about £50 million annually.
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