MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Manchester United’s bright pre-season form under new manager Erik ten Hag continued with a 4-1 win over Australian side Melbourne Victory in a friendly on Friday.
Having thrashed a flat Liverpool 4-0 in Bangkok on Tuesday, United shrugged off an early Victory goal with a two-goal burst late in the first half in front of a heaving crowd of more than 70,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Substitute Marcus Rashford grabbed a third late on before a Victory own goal saw the hosts slump to a heavy defeat.
For all the goals, it was a largely workmanlike display from United, who made heavy weather of the four-times A-League champions for much of the contest.
Playing their first pre-season game, Victory had the best of the early exchanges and went ahead after four minutes when Chris Ikonomidis latched onto a Ben Folami cross and fired past Tom Heaton, replacement goalkeeper for the injured David de Gea.
United steadied but were unable to break Victory’s staunch defence until a few minutes before the interval when Scott McTominay benefited from a deflection that looped over Victory goalkeeper Paul Izzo.
Anthony Martial slotted United’s second in injury time from close range after a neat flick from Anthony Elanga.
“I think the team reacted really good,” Ten Hag said of United’s response after conceding early.
“Especially on the right side, we created a lot, maybe three, four really good chances before halftime.
“It is good United has some talents but also you see that we need improvement and we need development.”
Centre back Harry Maguire was back in United’s starting lineup and played for a half after being rested from the Liverpool match with an unspecified injury.
He was one of three changes to the starting team from Bangkok, along with Heaton and Elanga.
Ten Hag changed over the entire team for the second half and the match meandered until Eric Bailly laced a neat through ball to Rashford who snuck a low shot under a lunging Izzo in the 78th minute.
A roar went out from the Victory crowd as new recruit Nani, the former United winger and Champions League winner, was substituted on with a few minutes left.
Moments later, home fans were groaning as young substitute defender Edmond Lupancu turned a United cross into his own net with his first touch.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Toby Davis)