Despite the exciting ongoing World Cup, Manchester United fans have been waiting to see their beloved team back in action.
And after almost a month, they witnessed a makeshift United side lose their first Spanish friendly against Cadiz 2-4 at the Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla.
The rustiness and lack of understanding showed as the Red Devils quickly went 0-2 down in the space of the first quarter. The Premier League giants did get one goal back through a Martial panenka penalty.
The second-half featured only academy talents and despite pulling a goal back through the stylish Kobbie Mainoo, it was a weak defensive display as Martin Dubravka let in another two to seal the contest in the favour of the La Liga strugglers.
United lacked understanding on the pitch
Erik ten Hag had said prior to kick-off that he does not view games as friendlies as he wants his team to win and show why they deserve to be playing regularly.
But there were far too many off-colour displays. Donny van de Beek was a passenger once again and both full backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams, fresh off injuries, looked slow and ponderous.
But the biggest disappointment was Anthony Elanga. He was a breath of fresh air last season under interim manager Ralf Rangnick but this season, he has looked clueless most of the time.
Someone’s poor display stood out for me.
Elanga. I get being rusty but almost every pass and decision he made was bad. For young players this is an opportunity to show maturity. Saying this because I don’t think he should be at the club ahead of Pellestri and Amad as well.
— The Elite Pundit (@TheElitePundit) December 7, 2022
On Wednesday, the Swede started on his preferred left despite the exciting Alejandro Garnacho, who had to be accommodated on the right.
Both changed flanks quite often but the Argentine was miles clear in terms of providing cutting-edge. He looks short of confidence and needs to be loaned out to gain more experience.
Fans are quick to judge nowadays but it must be remembered that he is still only 20. But at this point in time, there are better options than the Swedish international.
Elanga disappoints again
Despite not playing a minute for the 20-time English champions, Facundo Pellistri once again impressed for Uruguay in the World Cup in Qatar.
Fans have long been calling for the Uruguayan to be given a chance on the right as Antony’s back-up and on the back of this display from Elanga, Pellistri deserves a shot. Even Amad Diallo after he returns from loan.
Many players look like they need a loan or need to be let go and Ten Hag will be taking a call after the Spanish leg gets over. And there a re a few who deserve minutes in cup competitions.
Zidane Iqbal‘s whose trickery earned United the first-half penalty is one as is Mainoo. United next face Real Betis on Saturday, hoping to sign off with a win.