• Man United win one, lose one in double-header friendlies against West Brom

    Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

    Manchester United had a mixed bag of results as they stepped up their preparations for the Premier League restart after they were beaten 2-1 in the first of two matches before rallying to win the second contest 3-1 against Championship side West Brom in a friendly on Friday.

    Both games were played behind closed doors at the famous venue as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team prepares to take on Tottenham away on June 19 in their first league match since the coronavirus hiatus.

    United put out two different teams across the two matches against West Brom, with the Manchester Evening News reporting Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes played in midfield together during the opening defeat, with the Portuguese playmaker scoring and missing a penalty during the 90 minutes.

    The first United team also included Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Daniel James, Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matic.

    In the second tussle which resulted in a Red Devils victory, Andreas Pereira scored a brace while Tahith Chong snared the third in a team that featured the first choice defence of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Aaron Wan Bissaka, Luke Shaw and goalkeeper David De Gea.

    Odion Ighalo spearheaded the attack during the second match, with Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Fred and Scott McTominay also featured.

    Pogba and Fernandes will likely play in their first competitive match together when the Red Devils aim to extend their 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions against Spurs.

    Former United midfielder Darren Fletcher feels the star duo will have to alter their individual games slightly to help ensure they thrive together in midfield.

    “Without doubt, of course [Pogba and Fernandes can play together]. Great players can come together,” Fletcher told MUTV’s Group Chat.

    “Somebody might have to sacrifice a little bit of something – that’s part of being in a team, it’s not an individual sport. When you play with a certain midfield, whether it’s a midfield three, you adapt your game to complement each other.

    “That’s what I had to do at United. I was in the team with lots of different midfielders, lots of combinations and, if a certain midfielder was playing, I would try to take up positions to allow him to benefit and he would do things to allow me to benefit.

    “It’s all about being compatible and recognising the strengths of your fellow teammates and how to get your best performance, but, ultimately, you might be sacrificing what you do best to allow someone else to excel, which helps the team win.”

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