Although disappointed by Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat to Yokohama F•Marinos, Tom Cleverley insists his Manchester United team-mates will benefit from a testing workout at the Nissan Stadium.
Playing in hot and humid Japanese conditions - just 24 hours after jetting in from Sydney – David Moyes’ men were a little lethargic and ultimately beaten in the Kagome Re:Generation Challenge by Yoshihito Fujita’s 87th minute strike.
However, speaking after the final whistle, 23-year-old Cleverley was keen to remain positive and stated his belief that the physical examination against a team in the midst of their domestic season will ultimately benefit the Reds ahead of the new campaign.
“It was very tough, I don’t want to make excuses but we travelled a long way yesterday and we have come up against a sharp team in hard conditions,” Tom told MUTV. “I’m sure we can play better, we weren’t really at the races but it was a good workout for us.
“It will be good for us. You can’t get much better workouts than that. They made us work really hard, they were running for 90 minutes and had great movement. We would like to improve on the technical part of our game but as a workout, it was 100 per cent.”
“It is not easy but is something different,” Cleverley expanded, when quizzed on the difficulty of facing an unknown opponent. “It is a new experience. We would like to win these games to get our confidence but the second most important thing is working hard and getting our fitness up.”
One of the main pluses of Tuesday’s outing in Asia was a third pre-season goal for Jessie Lingard. The Warrington-born youngster netted from close range after scoring twice against the A-League All Stars in Sydney on Saturday – and Cleverley couldn’t be happier for his midfield colleague.
“It is good for young players to be in and around the first team, get used to it and get their confidence up, so I am happy that Jessie has scored a goal.”