Wantaway star Paul Pogba overcame a turbulent week and helped a lackluster Manchester United post a 2-0 friendly victory over Perth Glory on Saturday.
An under-pressure United struggled in their pre-season opener against a weakened Perth Glory, who won Australia’s A-League Premier’s Plate last season.
After a scoreless opening half, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer changed his entire lineup and inserted several stars, including Pogba whose uncertain future at Old Trafford has overshadowed United’s pre-season tour of Australia.
United finally cracked Perth’s tenacious defence in the 60th minute when Pogba showcased his sublime touch with a deft back-heel to forward Marcus Rashford, who struck it past goalkeeper Liam Reddy.
After being linked with a move to Real Madrid and Juventus, Pogba played the entire second half and helped United find more fluency. James Garner, 18, sealed the result with a long-range strike in the dying stages.
Suffering from a lack of numbers for the friendly, Perth fielded a youthful team including two 15-year-olds.
Solskjaer rested most of his guns in the first half, including Pogba, Rashford and regular goalkeeper David de Gea.
United, in their new gold away strip, controlled a subdued first half with speedy winger Daniel James eye-catching on the left flank. Teenage midfielder Tahith Chong worked his way into the game after a slow start but could not break-through.
The Dutchman was on the end of Perth’s physicality when he received a strong bump from Glory captain Shane Lowry that looked more reminiscent of the Australian Rules football match played on the same Perth Stadium ground the night before.
After a dismal end to the 2018-19 season, United’s underwhelming performance keeps the pressure firmly on Solskjaer who took the reins from Jose Mourinho last December.
Romelu Lukaku, reportedly looking to secure a move to Inter Milan, was rested but is expected to play on Wednesday against Leeds United.
After their 10-day Australian tour, United continue on for pre-season games in Singapore and China.