A perfect pre-season. As is always the case with every pre-season, gaining match fitness is the prerogative but the fact Manchester United played some fantastic football at times made it all the better to watch.
Pre-season games are usually drab affairs against all-star XI teams and they are, by nature, uncompetitive. However, with fixtures against the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid, United had some competitive games and it really helped the squad.
Ahead of Swansea on Saturday, no United fan could have asked for a better pre-season than the one the club has just had.
Welcome home, Louis van Gaal. After a hectic summer that saw Van Gaal reach the World Cup semi-final with Holland in Brazil and embrace United’s pre-season tour of USA, the Dutchman was finally able to take his place in the Old Trafford dugout for the first time tonight.
Greeted by cheers and a warm atmosphere, Van Gaal took his place to watch his side make it six wins from six games thanks to an injury-time winner from Marouane Fellaini.
If the first six games are anything to go by, this season is going to be very exciting under Van Gaal.
Darren Fletcher 1-0
Darren Fletcher continues his renaissance. There have been a few stand-out players for United on the pre-season tour but Fletcher’s performances deserve a special mention as they crescendoed with his goal tonight.
The midfielder has completely turned his fortunes and health around through nothing but hard graft and an inspirational determination to never give up despite the odds being stacked so against him.
Fletcher might not be able to play all 38 games this season but what he has shown in this pre-season is that he can be a very valuable member of the squad.
The season starts now. This pre-season has seen United play some great football. With wins over Real Madrid, AS Roma and Liverpool, the opposition provided some genuine competition.
Tonight’s performance against Valencia was flat in comparison to them but that’s all it needed to be because Van Gaal would have had one eye on Saturday and the Premier League curtain raiser against Swansea.
All of the positive results will count for nothing if United can’t go and get three points on Saturday.