Man Utd’s winners and losers from Atletico Madrid defeat as Anthony Elanga stakes his case

Man Utd’s winners and losers from Atletico Madrid defeat as Anthony Elanga stakes his case

Atletico Madrid got the better of Manchester United late on in their pre-season contest but plenty of Red Devils impressed with the new season just a week away.

Manchester United were undone late on by Atletico Madrid as Joao Felix’s 85th minute strike ensured the Spaniards came out on top.

It was the Red Devils’ penultimate pre-season outing with another to come against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. Erik Ten Hag fielded a strong line-up in Oslo and his side were certainly the better team, but couldn’t find the goals to show for their dominance and were hit by a late sucker punch.

Cristiano Ronaldo was again absent, but is poised to return on Sunday. United will begin their season in eight days against Brighton and Hove Albion with Ten Hag getting plenty of opportunities to assess his squad. He will now have a good idea of which players he likes in which positions as he continues to put his stamp on things.

We take a look at who furthered their case – and who failed to impress – during their latest outing.

Winners

Marcus Rashford

The forward continues to recapture the form that made him stand out for so long. Last term he looked a shadow of his former self as injuries and a lack of confidence meant he was consistently overlooked for selection – and even linked with a move away.

Now though, with a pre-season under his belt, renewed focus and a new manager to impress Rashford is looking back to his best. That fearlessness was always a great asset and the United star is again prepared to take chances, take risks in order to make things happen.

He’s been a bright spark all summer and looks set to enjoy a successful campaign having linked up impressively in the club’s forward line, that could well be without Ronaldo.

Anthony Elanga

So far United’s forward line under Ten Hag has picked itself. He’s been able to get the best from Rashford, Martial – although he endured a forgettable afternoon – and Jadon Sancho – who have generally combined effectively. However the later was missing due to sickness.

One man’s problem is another man’s gain however and Elanga, who enjoyed something of a breakout campaign last term, completed the front three and showed that he is poised to take more strides forward this term provided opportunities continue to come his way.

Scott McTominay

He was picked alongside his usual partner Fred once again. The pair have been almost immovable at the base of United’s midfield with several managers sticking by them. The arrival of Ten Hag led to many suggesting changes would be coming, potentially with Donny van de Beek enjoying more minutes.

Anthony Elanga filled in with Jadon Sancho absent

Anthony Elanga filled in with Jadon Sancho absent

As a pair, Fred and McTominay have started together in four of United’s five pre-season games. However the Brazilian was dismissed late on with Atletico leading and that could yet stick in Ten Hag’s mind. McTominay meanwhile has continued to be a regular.

Losers

Bruno Fernandes

For so long he was the talisman who appeared undroppable. That is no longer the case, especially post Solskjaer. It is therefore up to Fernandes to highlight his worth once more, but he failed to do so against Atletico.

The playmaker was, for a period, the club’s only real option as a No 10 but the arrival of Christian Eriksen means Ten Hag now has a credible alternative. Fernandes was sloppy throughout, struggling to get his passes to stick and create for the front three.

Eriksen came off the bench with 20 minutes remaining and Fernandes can ill-afford to produce such performances as Ten Hag begins to mould his squad.

Bruno Fernandes endured an off day

Bruno Fernandes endured an off day

The Frenchman is still out to prove his quality in Manchester after an average first season, but time on the sidelines hasn’t helped his cause. His absence comes through no fault of his own, but it has allowed others to stake their claim which could be costly.

Lisandro Martinez, who signed from Ajax this week, further bolsters Ten Hag’s defensive line and he began on the bench with Victor Lindelof starting alongside Harry Maguire. The club have four clear choices to play, what you would think, is two positions.

Varane has been unable to show the new manager just how much of an asset he can be having played one of their five games thus far.

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