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Erik ten Hag ‘reserves special mention’ for Man United star for pre-season performances



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Credit: IMAGO / Crystal Pix

Manchester United will play their first and only Old Trafford friendly of the summer against RC Lens on Saturday ahead of the Premier League season.

Erik ten Hag will be eager to see his team produce a strong performance ahead of their opening weekend encounter against Wolves.

He will also be pleased to see new signing Rasmus Hojlund being unveiled to the Old Trafford crowd before the game. The Dane will officially complete his initial £64 million move from Atalanta, which can rise to £72 million with add-ons.

During the pre-season campaign, United have won three games and lost three. They have two remaining fixtures before the season begins and the Reds’ boss believes that his squad have learnt from the different results so far.

“As I always say, there is no such thing as a friendly and we go into pre-season games wanting to win, just as we do in every fixture. However, the result does not matter as much in pre-season as the preparation these games provide for the start of the season later this month,” he wrote in the official matchday programme for the clash.

“Already this summer, we have won games and lost games, but all of them have been valuable experiences and can help our development.

“For example, it was pleasing for us to put in a strong performance against Arsenal in New Jersey, but we also got benefits from our defeat to Real Madrid in Houston, where two of our new signings continued their adaption to the team and we were given a reminder about the need to finish off our chances in front of goal.”

Whilst there were lessons for the team in general, young players were also gifted the opportunity to display their talents in front of Ten Hag, who made sure to mention the efforts of Kobbie Mainoo before he fell to injury against Los Blancos.

“Pre-season has also been a time for our Academy talents to show their ability,” added United’s boss. “I should reserve special mention for Kobbie Mainoo, who suffered an injury against Real Madrid but had already shown his potential among the senior squad.

“We all wish him a speedy recovery and hope to have him back in contention soon.”

The 18-year-old midfielder impressed in the opening three games of pre-season, with Ten Hag awarding him a start against Madrid. His night lasted only a few minutes before he was forced off the pitch with an ankle problem.

United confirmed that he will be unavailable for the opening stages of the upcoming Premier League season, with reports suggesting his outlay could be around two months.