International Champions Cup: Manchester United vs Real Madrid – Lineups, Preview & Prediction
The Red Devils’ US pre-season tour comes to a close when they face off against European Champions Real Madrid in Miami on Tuesday night.
01:00 BST, Wednesday 1st August, Hard Rock Gardens (Miami, Florida, USA)
As far as pre-seasons go, Manchester United haven’t had the best. The start of the domestic campaign is still two weeks away, yet we have already seen the defeatist, grumpy, less pleasant side of Jose Mourinho.
United are yet to win any of their four pre-season games in normal time, and the Portuguese is already under pressure, cutting a frustrated figure on the various American touchlines.
For Real Madrid, this clash will be their first outing since the 3-1 win over Liverpool in Kiev to secure their third consecutive European title – but there’ll be a hole in the team sheet.
Last Time Out
Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool
It may only be pre-season, but any loss to your bitter rivals stings. The scales of experience and quality may well have tipped heavily into Jurgen Klopp’s favour, but Mourinho and United will be disappointed to have gone down feebly in Michigan.
Liverpool had the luxury of being able to pick the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for this contest after the duo had linked up with the rest of the squad. New signing Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk and James Milner were also named in the German’s starting XI.
For Mourinho, however, the depth of choice was slightly more limited. Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera were the only regulars from last season in the United side, and the gulf in class eventually told.
Mane’s 28th minute penalty was quickly cancelled out by Andreas Pereira as the sides went in level at the break.
In the second period, Klopp utilised his squad depth to great effect, making wholesale changes. Daniel Sturridge continued his recent return to form by scoring a minute after coming off the bench before Sheyi Ojo doubled Liverpool’s lead eight minutes later from the spot.
New signing Xherdan Shaqiri scored his first goal for his new club in acrobatic fashion ten minutes from time to complete the win.
Manchester United Lineup
With most of his senior players still on extended leave after their involvement in the World Cup, Mourinho has made no secret of his frustration with the lack of depth he has at his disposal.
Forward Sanchez has echoed his bosses’ concerns in his recent performances, disgruntled with the lack of quality and service around him.
Real Madrid Lineup
In a game of firsts, the Real Madrid team sheet will feature several world-renowned players, though fans in the US will be all too aware of the name that won’t be on it.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Galactico no more, though it’s also a fresh start in the dugout for the new boss Julen Lopetegui after his move to the Bernabeu from the Spanish national side.
Key Battle: Ander Herrera (Manchester United) vs Isco (Real Madrid)
As Mourinho loses his patience with his squad, Ander Herrera is one of the few players he has with him which he can trust in the midfield.
Herrera has featured heavily so far this pre-season, and if United are to be in with any chance of taking something from their final game in Miami, the Spaniard will be called upon again, this time to face a potentially monumental task.
After early World Cup exits, Isco, alongside the likes of Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio, is available for selection. The Spanish attacking midfielder was a bright light in an otherwise dim Spain side in Russia this summer, and he’ll be eager to get his 2018/19 season off to a positive start.
Herrera will be played in his customary deeper midfield role, but keeping Isco quiet may only be the beginning of his worries.
All is not well at United
It doesn’t take much for Mourinho to get upset these days, but the mood emanating from their US-based camp have a rather toxic feel about them.
The Portuguese isn’t happy with the crop of players he has with him across the pond, and the situation isn’t helped by the lack of transfer activity back in Manchester, either. The Red Devils haven’t won a game in normal time in America, with a mammoth penalty shootout win over AC Milan their only claim to a somewhat of a victory.
United were completely outplayed by Liverpool last time out, and though the players at Jurgen Klopp’s disposal may have been of a higher quality than his counterparts, the recent United performances will have their fans on edge.
Wholesale change at Real
It’s been a rather tumultuous summer for Spanish football.
From seeing the national side lose their manager on the eve of the World Cup, to watching their side bow out to the hosts at a much earlier stage than planned, to seeing one of their domestic league’s most prized stars depart for pastures new.
Lopetegui’s situation within the national team set-up was handled embarrassingly, and the new boss will have a few angry fans to win over before he can really stamp his own mark on his new team.
It will take a while for Los Blancos and their fans to come to terms with the departure of Ronaldo though it marks the start of a new era in the Spanish capital.
Prediction: Manchester United 0-2 Real Madrid
Mourinho’s side have been toothless going forward in their recent fixtures and have scored only three goals in four games.
With the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford still recovering from their busy summer, the Red Devils are lacking firepower. With an attack so blunt coming up against the likes of Sergio Ramos and Keylor Navas, it is hard to see where United will make a breakthrough.
Lopetegui has a plethora of experienced talent at his disposal, and given he’ll want to get off to a winning start, there’s no reason for him not to use it. His side will have too much for United in this one. 0-3.
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