Manchester United 5-2 Galatasaray: Five conclusions as Ibrahimovic makes flying start
By Nick Wright
Last Updated: 01/08/16 7:54am
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored on his first appearance for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho's men claimed a 5-2 win over Galatasaray in Gothenburg.
The Swede netted with a bicycle kick after just a few minutes at the Ullevi Stadium on Saturday, and there were two goals for Wayne Rooney before Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata extended United's lead.
Here are five talking points from United's latest pre-season run-out…
Ibrahimovic's flying start
All eyes were on Manchester United's new number nine as he made his first appearance for the club in the familiar surroundings of his homeland. His early touches were met with loud cheers around the stadium, and the game was only four minutes old when he acrobatically volleyed Antonio Valencia's cross beyond Fernando Muslera.
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United will hope it's a sign of what's to come this season. There were some eye-catching flicks and smart touches from the 34-year-old before he was replaced by Marcus Rashford at half-time, and while it was his foul that led to Galatasaray's first goal, United can take encouragement from his first outing in their colours.
Rooney gets goals in new role
Mourinho has already made it clear he won't use Rooney as a central midfielder, so it was no surprise to see the 30-year-old make his first start under the new manager at number 10. It was a mixed performance. His touch let him down and passes went astray in a difficult first half, and his frustration got the better of him when he was booked in the 51st minute.
After that, however, Rooney's evening improved markedly. His first goal was smartly taken from Valencia's cross, and he was instrumental in the build-up to his penalty, releasing Rashford with a lofted pass into the left channel from inside his own half. He'll hope to make the position his own in the months ahead.
Defensively speaking, United remain a work-in-progress. An injury to Chris Smalling has robbed Mourinho of his most established centre-back, and a partnership of Eric Bailly and Daley Blind looked vulnerable in the first half against Galatasaray.
United were dominating until Galataray's equaliser, but Sinan Gumus was completely unmarked when he headed home Wesley Sneijder's free kick from the middle of the United penalty box in the 22nd minute. The Red Devils were carved open again shortly before half-time as they allowed Bruma to drive into the dangerzone and finish beyond De Gea.
Mourinho has insisted the signing of Paul Pogba will be his final move in the summer transfer market, but he might also need to add extra support at the back.
Is Valencia first choice?
Matteo Darmian was United's first-choice right-back for much of last season but Antonio Valencia might have the edge on him now. The Ecuadorian was in fine form in Gothenburg, marauding forward to great effect and setting up three of United's goals with accurate crosses from advanced positions.
Valencia produced the delivery for Ibrahimovic's opener, and he crossed for Rooney and Fellaini to strike in the second half. Darmian was introduced from the bench with around 20 minutes remaining, but the Italian lined up at left-back as Ashley Young took Valencia's place. Darmian is yet to start a pre-season game after his Euro 2016 exertions. With Valencia impressing, he is already playing catch-up.
Work-out boosts Mourinho's men
United lost valuable pre-season game-time when their International Champions Cup clash against Manchester City was cancelled in Beijing on Monday. Eight days had passed since their 4-1 defeat by Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai, so this was a much-needed run-out as they step up their preparations for the new campaign.
Mourinho made good use of the opportunity by using 11 substitutes over the course of the 90 minutes. United now return to Manchester for Wayne Rooney's testimonial against Everton on Wednesday, before Sunday's Community Shield showdown against Leicester City at Wembley. After a chaotic tour of China, United look in much better shape.