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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 August 2018

Mourinho pushes for last-minute transfers as lacklustre Manchester United are beaten in Munich

German champions win low-key friendly 1-0 on Sunday night at the Allianz Arena

You know the game is not the best when the loudest cheers from a sell-out 75,000 crowd were to mark the progress of paper airplanes thrown onto the pitch from the third tier of Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena.

One, in the 37th minute, sailed close to the half way line and that was about as interesting as the first half got of a forgettable pre-season friendly.

Bayern goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer would not have been missed had he, like thousands of others, gone for a swim in the city’s packed English Gardens to escape the high summer heat.

Bayern Munich beat Manchester United 1-0 with a 59th minute goal from a Javi Martinez header on a hot Bavarian night where two extra hydration breaks were required.

Bayern barely broke pace because they did not need to and concerns will continue for United.

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Only a convincing start to the season will remove fans’ worries about a lack of transfer activity so far this summer.

The club are still intending to buy their third big money central defender in three seasons before Thursday’s transfer window, but won't be held to ransom by excessive fees from clubs or players’ agents.

Pre-season results have little bearing on the season ahead, but an encouraging performance against Bayern would have helped shift the cloud which has hung over United all pre-season.

Instead, United did not manage a single shot on goal against a team who only returned to training 10 days ago. United were missing players but they also had plenty of experienced men on the field. They barely got out of their own half.

By the end of the second half, the 1,400 travelling fans who’d started the game reminding Bayern fans of the 1999 Uefa Champions League final, were singing about former players. It was not like they had much to sing about on the pitch.

Two strong teams were fielded, with United bringing back Marcus Rashford, and Victor Lindelof, a substitute for their first games of the pre-season, while Alexis Sanchez captained United for the first time.

Bayern spent almost the entire first forty-five minutes camped inside the United half, but the score remained goalless until Martinez’s strike.

United open the 2018-19 Premier League season with a home game against Leicester City on Friday night.

They’re likely to be missing Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Ashley Young, Marouanne Fellaini and Jesse Lingard, while Nemanja Matic and Antonio Valencia are injured.

Eric Bailly limped off at the start of the second half in Munich, as did Ander Herrera. The Spaniard later said that he wasn’t injured.

Mourinho gave his opposite Niko Kovac a hug and a smile at the end of the game, but if this is the side to start against Leicester, there will be numerous questions from United fans.

Those fans want to see Luke Shaw do well, but the left-back has not been one of the more impressive players pre-season. Right back Matteo Darmian, who wants to leave United, has, but both full-back positions remain a worry.

Asked how the game had gone, Mourinho looked to the positives, believing his youthful side had acquitted themselves well against more experienced opposition.

“Brilliant, they could not have done better than they did," Mourinho told MUTV. "It was a fantastic experience for the boys.

"There was a moment when I was looking to the area and it was Axel, centre-back on the left, Demetri, left wing-back, Garner midfield on the left and Chong. And, at the same time, it was Lewandowski on Axel. It was Robben on Mitchell. Absolutely fantastic.

“We were playing against their best team, their complete squad apart from Tolisso. So once more, fantastic experience but difficult to make transfers to what we want to do in the Premier League.

"We were just playing for this kind of pride. We don't want to come here and to lose badly, four or five. We have a certain image, we want to give a certain competition which we did.”

As for transfers, with the window closing on Thursday, Mourinho added: “My CEO knows what I want and I still have a few days to wait and see what happens.

"The other clubs who compete with us are really strong and already have fantastic teams. Or they are investing massively like Liverpool, who are buying everything and everybody. If we don’t make our team better it will be a difficult season for us.”

United have not impressed, but it is only pre-season. The time for judgement begins on Friday.

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