SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Coach Louis van Gaal is mixing and matching his lineups and found few highlights worth mentioning from Manchester United’s latest preseason victory.
Juan Mata and Memphis Depay scored five minutes apart in the first half, and Manchester United drew a big Bay Area crowd as the Red Devils beat the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 on Tuesday night for another win in the International Champions Cup.
“Nobody is secure of his positon in the team,” van Gaal said. “You have to win your position on the pitch.”
Andreas Pereira added another goal on a header off Jesse Lingard’s cross in the 61st minute for Manchester United. Van Gaal went with his second 10 players in the field after halftime before a packed stadium.
Not even new midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, among the second-half subs, was immune to the criticism.
“He was also bad,” van Gaal said. “There was one highlight I think and that was Pereira. Players can play bad and certainly when you have only six days training session in your legs and you have to play 45 minutes, everybody can think that it’s easy to step in, but it is not easy. The first match he played very well and now he played bad. But that is also a process.”
After his recent departure from Bayern Munich, Schweinsteiger will make his highly anticipated Premier League debut when the schedule begins next month. He played for the World Cup-winning German team last summer in Brazil.
Despite his disappointment in the second group, van Gaal is much happier with this year’s leadup to the upcoming Premier League season than the last — with the top-notch facilities and weather out West to van Gaal’s preference.
Mata scored in the 32nd minute when he dribbled just inside the 18-yard box, hit the right crossbar and the ball bounced into the net after barely missing the outstretched foot of Depay.
Depay got his turn soon after when he connected in the 37th minute.
“It’s a game to try to get fitter physically and to get a rhythm of games. It’s important to win because it’s good for your confidence,” Mata said.
Fatai Alashe made a sliding one-touch goal off a pass from the end line by Shea Salinas in the 42nd minute for San Jose, which lost 2-1 to Club America on July 14
A couple hundred fans lined up near the player entrance to enthusiastically greet the Red Devils’ arrival by police escort at sparkling first-year, 18,000-seat Avaya Stadium, which will host the MLS All-Star game next July.
The match had initially been slated for Memorial Stadium on the University of California campus in Berkeley but was moved to accommodate Man United since the club is staying in San Jose and training at the Earthquakes’ complex this week.
Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear frankly noted how his team was overmatched with this example, “It was like my little brother was playing against LeBron James.”
Van Gaal stayed with his same starting 11 from a 1-0 victory against Club America on Friday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
Depay put a warmup ball on the roof atop the Quakes’ largest outdoor bar in North America. Another shot went into the bar on the open end of the stadium beneath the big screen scoreboard.
Before the match, Van Gaal could be seen chatting with former Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson.
In the fourth minute, Depay displayed some fancy footwork on a run before his shot deflected off goalkeeper David Bingham. Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata each tried to get a look but Mata’s ball hit the side of the net. Depay put the pressure on again in the 13th as the Reds attacked early.
Manchester United players wore black armbands in tribute to eye specialist and University of Liverpool Professor Gail Stephenson, who recently died.
The Reds were without goalkeeper David de Gea and forward Antonio Valencia, each missing a second straight game with what van Gaal called minor injuries. He declined to provide further details.
Yet de Gea is likely to play Saturday against Barcelona. Van Gaal will likely stick with starters deeper into the game, too.
Manchester United will remain in the Bay Area through the week and face Barca at nearby $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium, new home of the NFL San Francisco 49ers.
“It’s an opponent we know more, a very good team,” Mata said. “They’re great players, a great manager. We have to play our best level if we want to win.”
Manchester United hadn’t played in Northern California since May 1970.
A moment of silence was held before kickoff to remember six students killed in a Berkeley balcony collapse last month.
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