In a busy day of European action, Manchester United u19s kicked off against Villarreal before the senior sides met later in the evening.
With club captain Harry Maguire in attendance, United’s youngsters looked to impress and instil some confidence around the club before the main action later.
It wasn’t to be though as Villarreal controlled possession from the start with some crisp passing, making United look sluggish in comparison. It was obvious Villarreal were a cohesive team used to each other, while United looked like the mix of u18s and u23s squad that they are due to the u19s age group not being used in England.
The Spanish side hit quickly, taking in the lead in only the fifth minute. A mistake from Willy Kambwala allowed a through ball under his foot to reach Jorge Medina who hit the post with his effort and the rebound was tucked home by Joan Torrents Beltran.
United tried to hit back when Shola Shoretire played Marc Jurado down the right and the Spanish fullback played in a dangerous cross but it was just inches away from meeting Dillon Hoogewerf’s foot.
Up the other end, Villarreal continued to apply the pressure and forced a turnover from Charlie Savage in a dangerous area.
A curling effort meant for the second time they hit the right post and once again were the livelier team with Jorge Medina running in to tap in the rebound as United’s defenders looked on flat footed.
With frustrations growing, Shoretire lunged into a challenge picking up a yellow card. From the resulting free kick, Villarreal delivered an inviting ball in behind United’s high line and Marlone Foubert-Jacquemin sneaked in behind to send the ball pass Radek Vitek with a stretching leg.
United showed some quality of their own when Shoretire sent through a delightful chipped ball for the on rushing Alvaro Fernandez who took the ball on his chest in stride and hit a powerful half volley forcing a great save from Villarreal keeper Filip Jorgensen.
The bad day wasn’t over for United’s youngsters though as the Spanish side made it 0-4 just before the break. An attempt to play out from the back saw possession lost and a quick ball through the stretched defence allowed Rodrigo Alonso Martin to be free in the centre to strike home a wonderful volley.
After the half time break, where Neil Wood would have certainly been unhappy, United came out with a bit more tempo in their play.
Getting more possession of the ball, Alejandro Garnacho started to cause some troubles including delivering a corner for Bjorn Hardley who headed just over the bar from close range.
Garnacho’s intent continued to cause problems and he was dragged down on the left wing. Marc Jurado came across to take and curled in an enticing cross for fellow Spanish fullback Alvaro Fernandez to latch onto with a bullet of a diving header which would leave Edinson Cavani impressed, leaving the opposition keeper no chance.
Despite pulling one back, it was all too little, too late as the match ultimately ended 1-4 for the Spanish visitors.
A disappointing result which leaves the young United side on three points and third in the group.
United: Vitek; Jurado, Kambwala (Bennett 59), Hardley, Fernandez; Svidersky (Mainoo 76), Savage (Gore 76); Hoogewerf (Mather 59), Shoretire (c), Garnacho; Hugill (Iqbal 59).
Subs not used: Hanbury, Murray.
Scorers: Fernandez 72 | Torrents 5, Medina 22, Foubert 28, Alonso 45.