Manchester United’s poor start to the new campaign continued on Wednesday after they suffered a 3-0 defeat to Burnley in a behind-closed-doors friendly game.
Despite major investment over the summer, United have made an underwhelming start to the new Premier League season, scraping past Wolves before losing to Tottenham.
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They were fortunate to claim all three points in their season opener at Old Trafford, with Wolves missing a number of chances as well as being denied a penalty when Andre Onana clearly wiped out Sasa Kalajdzic.
United had opportunities to take the lead in north London a week later but were well dominated in the second half, losing 2-0.
Erik ten Hag named the same team in both of those games, with Marcus Rashford leading the line and Casemiro isolated in midfield with Mason Mount and Bruno Fernandes ahead of him – two tactical decisions that have faced huge criticism.
With a couple of fringe players lacking match sharpness, and others returning from injury, Ten Hag arranged a behind-closed-doors friendly at Carrington on Wednesday to build up fitness.
While the line-up was mainly made up of youth players, it includes some familiar faces – some of whom could be involved on Saturday when Nottingham visit Old Trafford.
Anthony Martial, who has been working his way back to full fitness after a hamstring injury, was picked to lead the line while Pellistri – who, like Martial, was introduced late on against Spurs – was also handed a run out.
With Mason Mount injured for the next two games, either Scott McTominay or Eriksen is likely to replace him in the starting XI and Ten Hag may have dropped a clue with his team selection against Burnley.
McTominay, who has been linked with a move away this summer, was picked in midfield while Eriksen trained with the rest of the first-team.
Other players involved against Burnley included Jonny Evans, Hannibal Mejbri, Alvaro Fernandez and Van de Beek.
Despite the line-up, United were beaten 3-0 in the match – though Vincent Kompany is believed to have picked a competitive team due to Burnley not having played at the weekend, with their away game at newly promoted Luton Town postponed while the stadium is upgraded.
It is the second behind-closed-doors friendly Man United have hosted since the season started and they fared a little better last week when they beat Everton 2-0 courtesy of an own goal and McTominay goal.
The Red Devils take on Forest at Old Trafford next before heading to the Emirates for a big clash against Arsenal in their final game before the international break, with major improvements needed if they are to get a result.