Academy Weekly: U23s head to Monaco
With no league fixture this week, lead coach Neil Wood takes Manchester United’s Under-23s squad to Monaco for training sessions and a behind-closed-doors fixture.
The trip is part of the Academy’s bespoke games programme, which seeks to supplement Premier League 2 fixtures with European games. All of this is done to best prepare the players for their senior careers, with a variety of opposition, types of travel and environment.
More details of the Monaco trip will be in next week’s Academy Weekly, but for now, here’s everything you need from the last seven days at the Academy...
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Old Trafford victory
Alejandro Garnacho’s 36th-minute tap-in from D’Mani Mellor’s pull-back gave United an Old Trafford victory over Chelsea last Friday night. It’s the second of three games to be played here at the Theatre of Dreams for the U23s this season.
“We decided to change it a little bit and freshen up,” lead coach Neil Wood said.
“I thought it worked quite well. I thought the back five did very well. We changed into a back three when building up and it allowed Charlie Wellens and Alvaro Fernandez to get forward. It allowed us to create a lot of chances that we probably should have put away more of, and that was the only disappointing thing, really.”
United XI: Mastny; Wellens, Fish, Hardley, Svidersky, Fernandez; Shoretire, Iqbal; Emeran (Stanley 85), Mellor (c), Garnacho (Gore 90).
Goal: Garnacho 36.
Kick It Out workshop
The club’s Under-15s side engaged in a workshop last week. All staff and players in the Academy partake in such training sessions at least once throughout the season.
Busy U18s schedule continues
Having trailed by two after just 16 minutes, United U18s completed a fantastic three-goal comeback in the 91st-minute when Maxi Oyedele headed home from a wonderful clipped Sam Mather pass.
Joe Hugill had got United’s first back before the break, and then assisted Ethan Ennis’s equaliser, heading across goal for Ennis to tap in after Marc Jurado’s clever ball into the box. Radek Vitek came up with a big double save to keep the scores level before Oyedele’s winner.
United XI: Vitek; Jurado, Bennett (c), Aljofree, Pye; Gore (Murray 30), Oyedele; Ennis (McNeill 62), Norkett (Forson 62), Hugill, Mather.
Goals: Nathan Lowe 10, David Okagbue 16 - Joe Hugill 35, Ethan Ennis 61, Maxi Oyedele 91.
Before that Saturday morning game, the busy schedule for Travis Binnion’s side - nine games in all in April - continued with a Tuesday fixture at home to Sunderland. The two sides faced off at the end of March, with United winning 1-0, and this time couldn’t be separated.
Ethan Ennis curled home a wonderful early opener for the Reds, but Sunderland’s Tom Watson equalised in the second half and United couldn’t find a winner.
United XI: Hanbury; Jurado (c), Kambwala (Hugill 46), Aljofree, Pye; Oyedele, Gore; Forson, Mather (Fredricson 60), Ennis (Mainoo 60); Norkett.
Goals: Ethan Ennis 4 - Tom Watson 50.
Reece Devine returned from injury for Walsall in a 1-0 defeat for the Saddlers against Rochdale, while Matej Kovar made his first start for Burton Albion, keeping a clean sheet against Plymouth Argyle.
Dylan Levitt was another young Red to return from injury for his loan club, participating in an exciting draw in the Dundee derby. In England's second tier, James Garner assisted one of Nottingham Forest's two goals in their victory over Birmingham City. For more on all of our loanees' progress, head here for this week's full round-up.
FA Youth Cup final opponents confirmed
Manchester United's Under-18s will host Nottingham Forest in the FA Youth Cup final after Warren Joyce's side defeated Chelsea 3-1 in their semi-final played at the City Ground last Monday night. Full match details will be communicated as soon as possible, and tickets will be available when a date is agreed between the two clubs.
COMING UP THIS WEEK
There’s no Premier League 2 match for the U23s this week, and the squad are away in Monaco as detailed above, but the U18s host Wolves at Carrington on Tuesday evening (17:45 BST). The match is available to watch live on MUTV, and we’ll have coverage on the United app and ManUtd.com.
There are no weekend fixtures for either side.