United train for Tottenham test in Shanghai
On Tuesday afternoon, in the sapping heat of Shanghai, Manchester United completed their first training session of Tour 2019's Chinese leg.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co landed in the world's most populous country on Monday evening and checked into the team's hotel around 10pm local time, so Tuesday afternoon's training session was the players' first serious bit of work since arriving here.
The Reds have enjoyed a serene pre-season thus far, beating both Perth Glory and Leeds United in convincing fashion to put the icing on a satisfying 11-day spell in Perth, Western Australia, before jetting to Singapore, where Internazionale were defeated by a single goal, thanks to an ice-cold finish from Mason Greenwood.
Despite the narrow scoreline, the performance against the Italians was probably United's best on tour so far, with the high-intensity approach Solskjaer and his coaches have tried to implement well represented by some aggressive tackling – most notably from new boy Aaron Wan-Bissaka – and some trademark counter-attacking from our speedy forwards.
Mason Greenwood's goal earned United victory against Inter Milan.
And there was more good news when the team appeared on Tuesday inside the Shanghai Stadium – which hosted football at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – for a first proper workout since landing in the city situated by the Yangtze River.
Tahith Chong and Romelu Lukaku both took part in some fitness work away from the main group, and recent match absentee Lee Grant was able to join David De Gea, Sergio Romero and Joel Pereira – and goalkeeping coaches Emilo Alvarez and Richard Hartis – for some quality work with the ball.
While the outfield lads were taken through a series of stretches and pulls by the conditioning coaches on the running track beside the turf, there were even a few spare seconds for Solskjaer and Michael Carrick to stage their own small competition, arcing 40-yard balls towards the teeny nets laid out for one of the main session's upcoming drills. It won't surprise anyone to learn that both can still do wondrous things with a ball at their feet.
The squad – including Victor Lindelof, who had to be taken off with a slight knock during the Inter victory – then moved towards the main pitch to begin work with the ball.
There were high-octane one-on-one drills, despite the stifling heat, and short, sharp pressing exercises, which should build United up nicely for the challenge that Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham Hotspur will provide on Thursday evening.
The temperature reached 35 degrees during our time at the stadium, and the locals revealed to us that they expect it to reach 39 for tomorrow's 'open' training session, which will take place at Yuanshen Sports Stadium in Pudong.
Out and about in ShanghaiGallery
Scroll through our gallery to see what the players have been up to on their first full day in China.
Thankfully, there was at least some shade on Tuesday, granted by the stadium's large cantilevered roof.
The match itself, United's final encounter before flying back to Manchester – where the club's travelling party is scheduled to arrive on Friday morning – will take place at a third venue, the Hongkou Stadium, where a crowd of over 30,000 will watch the Premier League giants slug it out.
Spurs geared up for the fixture in Singapore on Sunday, when they secured a dramatic late victory over Juventus. Cristiano Ronaldo and his cohorts were eventually beaten 3-2 thanks to an audacious, expertly-measured Harry Kane drive from close to the halfway line.