Manchester United 2-0 Manchester City: Talking points from Houston

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Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford were on target as Manchester United claimed a 2-0 win over Manchester City in their International Champions Cup meeting in Houston.

Lukaku struck his second pre-season goal for United in the 37th minute, with Rashford doubling their advantage shortly afterwards as Jose Mourinho claimed an early victory over Pep Guardiola.

From Lukaku and Rashford’s strike partnership to the transfer work both sides still have to do, here are five talking points from Thursday’s game.
Lukaku-Rashford strikeforce

Jose Mourinho had already hinted that he could use Lukaku and Rashford as strike partners and he began testing the waters for the first time in Houston.

It turned out to be a successful experiment. As well as hitting a goal each, the pair looked sharp and combined effectively on a number of occasions.
They have now scored five goals between them since arriving in the States, and if Mourinho’s post-match musings are anything to go by, it is not the last we will see of them playing as a pair.

“It is good to see them play together which is perfectly possible,” he told MUTV. “We had three friendly matches and we played with three different systems. Today we played with a 10 and we are working to develop the team.”

“There’s a possibility you could see that up front,” Rashford also told Sky Sports News after the game. “But there’s still a lot of things we need to work through in training.”

Walker and Ederson make debuts
Two of Pep Guardiola’s four new summer signings played the entirety of the match, but it is unlikely to be an occasion Ederson will remember too fondly.

The goalkeeper impressed to begin with, making three fine saves in the opening 25 minutes, but his first appearance for City will be remembered for the baffling decision to come out of his box for Lukaku’s opening goal.

There were a few more decent saves in the second period, but he could also have done more to keep out Rashford’s second goal. Overall, it was not the seamless debut that he or City would have hoped for against their local rivals.
Walker made a quieter start to his Manchester City career, and did show off some of the qualities that convinced his new club to make him the most expensive defender in the world.

We saw glimpses of his blistering pace down the wing both in defence and attack, as he matched Rashford a few occasions before putting crosses into the box for his new team-mates.

Bother Ederson and Walker are still finding their feet at their new club, and there will be plenty of eyes on them as City continue their pre-season schedule.

Pep praises fantastic Foden

One of City’s stand out performers was 17-year-old Phil Foden, who is already garnering plenty of attention at the club and impressed during his 74 minutes on the pitch.
The midfielder did not look to overawed by the occasion of his first-team debut and showed natural ability on the ball, drawing high praise from manager Guardiola.

“I don’t have words – I would like to have the right words to describe what I saw,” he told a post-match press conference. “You are the lucky guys who saw the first game, for the first team for Manchester City, of this guy.

“It’s a long time since I saw something like this. His performance was another level. He’s 17-years-old, he’s a City player, he grew up in the academy, he loves the club, he’s a City fan and for us he’s a gift.

“He will stay with us training with us in the pre-season and maybe he’ll stay with us in the season because he’s special.”

Did the first overseas derby work?
It has taken 136 years for the Manchester derby to be played outside of the UK, and all in all, it was a successful event with the American crowd certainly hyped in the build-up to the match.

There was an attendance of 67,401 – nearly 12,000 more people than a sold out match at the 55,097-seater Etihad Stadium – and most were wearing either United or City shirts.

The arena began to fill up long before kick off, and there was an electric atmosphere as a smoke machine and spotlight display greeted the teams onto the pitch. Houston proved to be a worthy venue for the historic match.

Work still to do in the transfer market?

Mourinho will be pleased to have seen another goal from £75m man Lukaku, but he used his post-match press conference to urge chief executive Ed Woodward to bring in “one more” new signing.

“When I look to the team and Lukaku, Lindelof, I would like my squad to be here, my whole squad,” he said. “If you manage to get one more player – I’m not even crying for two – if we get one player, as soon as possible.”

That player could be Ivan Perisic. Mourinho is known to be a big admirer of the Croatian, but United’s attempts to persuade Inter Milan to sell have so far been unsuccessful.
City, meanwhile, have rather more work to do in the transfer market. Guardiola was forced to use Fernandinho and Eliaquim Mangala at left-back against United having been frustrated in his pursuit of Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy.

Guardiola revealed Aleksandar Kolarov is likely to sign for Roma in his post-match press conference, admitting City are well short at full-back ahead of the new campaign.

“Of course we would like to have the players as soon as possible,” he said. “We know the transfer market and how complicated it is and we are going to find the best solution. We need defenders. We need two or three defenders.”Euro Soccer Bonus

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