Match report as Man Utd gear up for start of new Premier League season by scoring four against Everton; first-half goals by Mason Greenwood, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes, with a stunning free-kick, put the hosts in control; Diogo Dalot's late header added a fourth for the home team
Saturday 7 August 2021 17:15, UK
Manchester United warmed up for the new season in style by easily seeing off Everton 4-0 at Old Trafford in their last friendly of the summer.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer selected a strong-looking line-up as he made his final preparations ahead of the start of the new Premier League campaign next weekend, with the majority of his Euro 2020 stars back.
The hosts' strength showed as they raced into a commanding 3-0 lead at the break thanks to Mason Greenwood's early opportunistic strike after a mistake by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire's towering header and a trademark Bruno Fernandes free-kick.
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Van de Beek, Greenwood, Fernandes, James, Martial
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Allan, Doucoure, Gray, Townsend, Iwobi, James
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, Fred, Greenwood, Fernandes, James, Mata
Everton: Begovic, Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Allan, Delph, Gray, Townsend, Iwobi, Gordon
Despite a better showing in the second half from Rafa Benitez's Everton team, it was United who scored again in stoppage time via Diogo Dalot's looping header to ensure they go into next Saturday lunchtime's home clash with Leeds United in good heart, which cannot be said for the Toffees, who host Southampton later that day.
United had eight players back from their summer breaks, including England stars Maguire and Luke Shaw, although it was the visitors' Three Lions hero Pickford who gifted the home team an eighth-minute lead.
There appeared little danger when Lucas Digne carefully headed the ball back to Pickford, who inexplicably failed to gather it cleanly, allowing an alert Greenwood to nip in to open the scoring by finding the empty net.
Eight Man Utd players were back from their summer breaks, including England internationals Maguire and Shaw, as well as the likes of De Gea, Fernandes, Lindelof, Martial, while Pogba and
Fred were on the bench.
However, Jesse Lingard was isolating after the club confirmed he had tested positive for Covid-19.
Everton gave Pickford his first run-out of pre-season, while James and new boys Townsend and Gray all started in attack, but Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison missed out with the former suffering with a slight knock, while the latter was winning Olympic Gold with Brazil.
United doubled their advantage seven minutes later with Shaw's left-wing corner being powered home by Maguire, before Fernandes added a third on 29 minutes.
Most in the ground, including Pickford, knew what was coming when the Portugal forward hovered over the free-kick, but that did not mean anyone could do anything about it as Fernandes curled home deliciously from 30 yards out to end the game as a contest before the half-hour mark.
Both managers rung the changes at the break and Everton produced a much-improved display after the interval, but without any end product with first-choice strikers Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison absent.
United ended up adding a fourth goal in the second and final minute of injury-time thanks to substitute Dalot's cheeky back header to leave Everton's new boss with plenty to think about ahead of the new campaign.
Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "When you make changes, the games in pre-season always go this way, or most of the time go this way," he told Man Utd.com.
"It was about getting the minutes in, try to get the intensity, the work they've put in so far in pre-season has been good and we got rewarded with a few nice goals today. That was a positive. We did okay fitness wise but Leeds is a different kettle of fish with the way they play. Every team in the league poses a different challenge so today was about intensity and going home tonight with four goals. That gives us confidence.
"The medical with Raphael [Varane] still has to be done. He's isolating at the moment. He had to wait for visas, so unfortunately that took a few more days than expected but we're going to follow the protocols and the rules, so it's taken a few more days than we hoped for.
"Jadon [Sancho] is in for Monday and hopefully then he's in decent nick and can be involved (against Leeds)."
Everton boss Rafa Benitez: "Today, we didn't have our strikers, the others did their jobs but it is totally different when we have specific players, especially good players, up front," he told evertontv.
"They are not here, so that changed the dynamic of the team a little bit.
"We have to improve in some areas but the main thing is to be sure we have the team together, then we can manage the way we want to play, with the players who can normally make the difference.
"We want to play like we did in the (earlier pre-season) games. Trying to create chances, trying to move forward quickly. I think as a team we have to improve.
"Not just a couple of players. As a team we have to be sure that the understanding between players, the mentality, the character is there - and then if we have that, we can be more competitive.
"Today we conceded goals that, in the end, don't give us any hope of a good result... it was more about trying to play the way we want but the other team was much better and we couldn't cope with that.
"It is not easy but for us some of the ideas we were implementing during pre-season are what we have to do now."
United kick off the new Premier League at home to Leeds next Saturday at 12.30pm, while Everton take on Southampton at Goodison Park at 3pm on the same day.