Manchester United took their first loss of the preseason on Saturday in a 0-1 loss to Atletico Madrid in Oslo, Norway. Erik ten Hag sent out what appeared to be as close to a first choice XI as was possible to him, and only made a handful of substitutes late in the match. United controlled the game for the most part, but lacked the finishing touch to create and convert meaningful chances on Jan Oblak’s net.
The breakthrough came late on a nice finish through the legs of Diogo Dalot by Joao Felix, who scored against United in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 matchup last season. It was frustrating to see United struggle to break down the block by the opposition, and hopefully it is not an indicator of continuation of similar struggles that we’ve seen the last couple years.
The game was quite a feisty affair for both sides. Typical of a Diego Simeone side, Atletico were going in hard on challenges from the start, and things got chippy on more than one occasion. Jan Oblak even appeared to kick out at Scott McTominay after a collision on a set piece in the first half. Several yellow cards were shown for both sets of teams, and a second yellow for Fred late in the game saw United have a second player sent off in their preseason fixtures.
Perhaps the most memorable part of the match was the first glimpse of Christian Eriksen in a United shirt, sporting the no. 14 on his back and asserting himself in midfield from the moment he came on. He will likely be a key player for that unit this season, and fans were happy to see him looking healthy and sharp after finally joining first team training last week.
United are set for another friendly this weekend, a match against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford tomorrow. Most of the team are expected to be reserves and youth players who didn’t make the trip to Oslo. There will be hopes of seeing Luke Shaw and Jadon Sancho as well, who missed out on today’s match due to illness concerns.