Manchester United and AC Milan faced each other in the International Champions Cup group match as a part of their pre season preparations as both teams named relatively strong lineups. United were looking to make a good impression after two uninspiring games against American opposition in their previous fixtures. Milan looked to start the tournament on a positive note as well, with United going into the game in a 3-5-2 formation while Gattuso named his lineup in the customary 4-3-3.
Here is a tactical breakdown of how the change in shape for United looked in the game, highlighting its tactical influence.
- Manchester United have pressed high in the first half against Milan in their 3-5-2 shape. Sanchez and Mata have taken on the Milan centrebacks while Herrera pushes from midfield to cover Locatelli from receiving. They forced quick, unstable passes from Milan to win the ball back
- Despite the positives, United’s back line struggled a bit when off the ball when defending diagonal runs made by the Milan forwards. The spacing between the United wing backs and the centrebacks was not optimal and Milan took advantage of this time and again
- There were characteristic patterns in United’s buildup play. Andreas Pereira conducted play and made incisive passes forward to start an attack while McTominay and Herrera made runs to open lanes for passes to the wingbacks. Alexis Sanchez made runs into channels and was very good up front.
It was a bright start to the cup tournament for both teams as they both had positives to draw from the game. United in particular, were excellent in the opening 45 minutes with quick, incisive attacks in the Milan half. Jose Mourinho will still want to right a few things but there are positives in this 3-5-2 shape for his team.