Real Madrid FCMan United FC

18 touches, 0 duels won: United superstar still to find his rhythm in pre-season

Manchester United tried hard but fell short against Real Madrid on Thursday, falling 0-2 at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

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Jude Bellingham and Joselu scored either side of halftime, as United failed to create many clear-cut chances.

Manager Erik ten Hag conceded that the defeat was due to a lack of firepower up front, with Marcus Rashford barely getting a sniff.

Rashford struggled in the offensive zone.

The Manchester United legend Gary Neville had indicated to him that he preferred to play on the left rather than the right, and it showed against Los Blancos.

He only had 18 touches of the ball, and while he finished the game with a 100% pass completion rate, Rashford prefers to be involved rather than wait for an opportunity to present itself.

The England international is a hurried player, and the finest chance that came his way was stopped by the goalie, which may have been an easier chance had he controlled it better.

Elite attackers can wait nearly 90 minutes for the ideal opportunity, but they make the most of it. Rashford loves to get involved and touch the ball as often as possible in order to create something from nothing.

This lack of attention was also evident in the second half when he failed to control a forward pass, and he will need to improve on this in the future if he is to regain his form from last season.

The 25-year-old can be a deadly proposition when his head is in the right place, but he has yet to find his groove in pre-season.

Rashford requires assistance right away.

He lost all four of his duels and was forced to give possession twice.

Jadon Sancho, who came on in the 62nd minute, had more touches of the ball than Rashford, indicating that he still has a long way to go before mastering the striker’s position.

Rasmus Hojlund should be brought in shortly to relieve the goalscoring load on the Manchester-born forward.

He works best when he is allowed to play instinctively rather than when he is forced to fit into one position where he barely sees any of the ball.

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