Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United reign began with a comfortable 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic thanks to goals from Academy graduates Will Keane and Andreas Pereira.
It was a low-key outing at the DW Stadium but there were plenty of positives to take home, after the manager handed unofficial debuts to his summer signings Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, while Luke Shaw made his first appearance since suffering a double leg fracture last September.
Dressed casually in a club tracksuit, Mourinho watched the entire match from his technical area and appeared in high spirits as he obliged the 7,000 United fans in the main stand who repeatedly requested a wave from their new manager. Those same supporters were clearly enjoying themselves and spent much of the afternoon serenading the Portuguese, chanting “Jose Mourinho’s Red and White Army”.
Although the new manager was without a full squad of players, there was plenty of intrigue surrounding his first starting XI and a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation that featured a number of youth players. Sam Johnstone was chosen as goalkeeper and there was also a place in defence for Tim Fosu-Mensah, with James Wilson playing up front after his loan spell in the Championship with Brighton & Hove Albion.
Like many pre-season friendlies, the action was not as high-voltage as fans have grown accustomed to yet United still showed flashes of quality throughout the first half. Mkhitaryan was notably pulling the strings in the number 10 role and the Armenia captain almost set up Memphis to score the opening goal, when the Dutch winger met his incisive pass to shoot just wide of the left post.
While Mkhitaryan could have scored his first goal for the club when he missed the target from Wilson’s driven right-wing cross, the former Borussia Dortmund forward showed his creativity throughout a promising first half before exiting at the break as one of seven planned. substitutions.