Manchester United continued preparations for next Friday’s Premier League restart against Tottenham Hotspur with a pair of friendly matches against West Brom at Old Trafford.
The Reds organised two games against the Championship promotion hopefuls, one starting at 13:00 BST before another two hours later. The United teams arrived at different times in kit, in order to avoid using the changing rooms, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer selected mixed sides, which would not have provided any strong clues on the starting line-up for the Spurs clash.
Of course, Old Trafford was largely empty, as will be the case for the behind-closed-doors fixtures in the top flight, and there were other changes with the balls being disinfected and water breaks taken during the play.
Some players from each side featured in both matches but there was the opportunity to get plenty of game-time into the legs of the squad, with two 90-minute matches perfect for increasing sharpness.
West Brom won the opening friendly 2-1, before the Reds secured a 3-1 victory in the three o’clock kick-off, with midfielder Andreas Pereira among the goals with a double, and Tahith Chong also on the scoresheet.
However, the results were not of any real significance as this presented another chance for the Reds to become more accustomed to the new situation that will face us from next week onwards.
With no fans permitted inside the ground, the club has set up a campaign to show supporters’ pictures on a mosaic that will be displayed when the Reds are back in action. After a full-scale 11-a-side match among the squad at the weekend, on the back of the Europa League tie at LASK before lockdown, hopefully the players are learning the handle the absence of a crowd.
The Reds stars did not eat at the stadium, instead taking pre-prepared food home as the club continues to work hard to ensure a safe environment due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With minutes in the tank, it was another valuable exercise for Ole and his coaching team as the anticipation really starts to build for the game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and a chance to extend an unbeaten run that stood at 11 games before the Premier League was put on hold in March.