FIVE things we learned after Manchester United thrashed Everton to end their pre-season campaign

FIVE things we learned after Manchester United thrashed Everton to end their pre-season campaign

Seasons aren't successful in August. Points aren't gained in pre-season. But Manchester United laid down a marker for their Premier League bid by thrashing Everton 4-0 in their last pre-top-flight friendly.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's were rampant in the first-half as Mason Greenwood, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes launched the Red Devils into a three-goal lead by the half-hour mark, before Diogo Dalot headed home a fourth deep in stoppage time.

The result revealed a great deal about how both sides will kick-off their respective Premier League campaigns next weekend. The Red Devils host Leeds at Old Trafford before Rafa Benitez's men host Southampton just a few hours later.

With all the on-pitch preparations now rounded off for both these clubs, Sportsmail looks at what we learned from the Old Trafford rout for Solskjaer's side.

NEW UNITED SET PIECE COACH OFF TO A GOOD START

Somewhere on the Manchester United bench, new coach Eric Ramsay must have been smiling all throughout this match.

The Red Devils appointed the young coach, formerly an assistant of Chelsea's under-23 coach, as a set-piece specialist last month with Solskjaer confirming that he will aim to improve the club's effectiveness from dead ball situations at both ends of the pitch.

United were rarely tested defensively by Everton with Andros Townsend whipping in a few tricky corners early on, but Ramsay's work appears to be paying off from the attacking point of view.

An early corner from Luke Shaw nearly saw Nemanja Matic score but Townsend blocked his effort at the far post, before Maguire headed home Shaw's corner after some excellent movement in what looked like a rehearsed routine.

Shaw was once heralded by former United boss Jose Mourinho as a failure from set pieces, but is now producing the dead ball goods for both club and country.

Then United's dead ball joy continued Fernandes hit a wonderful free-kick to put the result all beyond doubt after half an hour at Old Trafford.

What looked particularly impressive was United's reaction to the original free-kick or corner being cleared by their opposition. In the second-half, Fernandes fired wide from the edge of the box a couple of phases after the original corner was cleared.

Then, to round off an almost-perfect result, Fred picked up a cleared set piece to clip a ball to Dalot who flicked a clever header into Asmir Begovic's top corner.

The extent of Ramsay's involvement in these set-piece related goals is unknown, but United are improving at dead ball situations just one month after their new coach's arrival.

VAN DE BEEK SHOWS QUALITY IN RARE START

Manchester United fans have barely seen Donny van de Beek through their television screens since his £40million arrival last summer, let alone 55,000 people seeing him in the flesh for the first time at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman was utilised by Solskjaer in the 'number six' role that Paul Pogba tends to play alongside a defensive midfielder, with Nemanja Matic acting as van de Beek's partner in the heart of the United side.

The Red Devils got off to a fast start in the match and that was partly down to the Dutch midfielder's relentless pressing in the middle of the park, whilst he was quick to move the ball into United's front three.
Van de Beek is starting to cause a dilemma for Solskjaer in the United midfield. There is no doubt that the Dutchman is Paul Pogba's long-term successor at Old Trafford in that role, but can the Premier League club afford to sell Pogba and promote van de Beek to first-choice.

What we do know is that van de Beek's display on Saturday afternoon showed that he can link up well with the likes of Mason Greenwood and Dan James out wide, while he did not stand on fellow attack-minded midfielder Bruno Fernandes' toes.

PICKFORD EVERTON'S ERRORS RETURN

Jordan Pickford should come into this season full of confidence. The England No 1 had a fabulous Euro 2020 where he did not concede a goal from open play all tournament while he continued his reliability on the world's biggest stage.

But on Saturday, you would have thought the Everton shot stopper had suffered the summer from hell. Unlike his calm and commanding displays for England, he was erratic, nervous and error-ridden in a 45-minute display before being hauled off at half-time.

Pickford's nightmare moment came after just eight minutes when he spilled Lucas Digne's simple headed backpass into the path of Mason Greenwood, who had the easiest task of tapping home into an empty net.

Three minutes later, Bruno Fernandes shot from distance which should have been a simple take for the Everton goalkeeper, but Pickford spilled the effort once again and was fortunate that Anthony Marital was wasteful at the rebound.

It was a difficult opening 45-minute spell for Everton - but that is exactly when you should have to rely on a reliable and now-experienced figure like Pickford between the sticks.

Had Pickford produced the displays he did at the Euros, the Toffees would have been more competitive at Old Trafford. But he just can't rid the Everton errors from his game.

BENITEZ FACES PROBLEMS UP FRONT AND IN THE STANDS

As the former Liverpool manager coming in as the popular Carlo Ancelotti's replacement, Rafa Benitez was always going to face an uphill struggle to appease the Everton fans.

The 61-year-old would have realised that straight after he walked out the tunnel at Old Trafford. Some Toffees fans were singing 'fat Spanish waiter' - the chant directed at him during his spells at Liverpool and Chelsea - and when the Toffees were 3-0 down, songs of 'you're getting sacked in the morning' also emanated from the away end.

Saturday's display did nothing to ease any lingering concerns in the minds of Everton supporters who still doubt the Spaniard is the right man to take the club forward.

One area Benitez has to fix is the reliability the club have on Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison for goals. The Old Trafford friendly was a great chance for the other forwards to show there is more to Everton than the aforementioned pair - and most of them failed.

Demarai Gray and Alex Iwobi looked good in patches but lacked the goalscoring touch in the final moment. That is not a surprise given the pair have together totalled 23 Premier League goals in nearly 300 combined appearances.

James Rodriguez looked sharp to begin with but his influence and belief deteriorated as every United goal went in during the first-half. Andros Townsend was another bright spark, hitting the bar after half-time, but he is not the attacking marquee signing that gets Toffees fans to the club shop for a new shirt.

Calvert-Lewin should return for next weekend but Richarlison's involvement in Saturday's men's Olympic final for Brazil could push back his return date even further.

Benitez needs a good start to this season, he may need some new strikers to help him.

STILL MORE TO COME FROM UNITED

While the focus was all on the Old Trafford proceedings, the social media activity during United's thrashing of Everton would have raised the Red Devils' spirits even further.

New £73million signing Jadon Sancho was tweeting his excitement at watching his new team-mates fly past Everton in the first-half, while Raphael Varane posted an image of him watching the match with his child at his new Manchester home.

It raises the question - if United are this good right now, what will they be like when their two marquee signings come into the mix?

There's also Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani to come back as well, who will surely be looking to better last season's goal tally of 17 when he becomes United's first-choice striker over Anthony Martial, who lacked impact once again on Saturday.

Solskjaer should be looking at his side's first seven league matches of the season - none of them against Big Six clubs - and be targeting 21 points. This could potentially become a larger total should the new boys gel in quicker than expected.
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