Manchester United’s opening match on Tour 2016, presented by Aon, ended in disappointment after a 4-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai, but the friendly game proved to be another useful exercise for new manager Jose Mourinho as he continues to settle into life at the club.
First-half goals from Gonzalo Castro and the impressive Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the Germans, who had former United star Shinji Kagawa in their starting line-up, in the driving seat. Ousmane Dembele netted a fine third finish after the break and although Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired in his unofficial first strike for United, it proved to be a consolation after Castro’s superb second effort late on.
Just as he had at Wigan, Mourinho positioned himself on the touchline from minute one, shouting instructions and encouragement throughout the 90 minutes. In truth it was a scrappy opening from both sides as the two sets of players looked to settle into the match in extremely humid conditions.
The first chance of any real note fell to Dortmund on 20 minutes and it led to the opening goal. Aubameyang tried a speculative effort on goal from 35 yards which Sam Johnstone could only parry to Dembele. Johnstone blocked the follow-up, but he, as well as Phil Jones on the line, were powerless to stop Castro’s bundled finish into the roof of the net.
The United players had struggled up to that point to really impose themselves on the game as an attacking force. Juan Mata found himself on the ball a lot in the no.10 role behind Memphis Depay; Mkhitaryan, up against the team he signed from, lined up on the left with Jesse Lingard on the right as Mourinho tested out players in different positions, and the pair switched wings later on in the half. Lingard was the first Red to be given a sight of goal three minutes after Dortmund had taken the lead when he pounced on a loose ball, but his effort was straight at German goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.