Things we learned from Edinburgh

Wednesday 19 July 2023 15:58

Manchester United defeated Lyon 1-0 in a friendly that spawned a number of talking points afterwards.

Erik ten Hag's side took the spoils with a second-half strike by Donny van de Beek, set up by Dan Gore's excellent centre.

It was another good workout for the team, ahead of the flight to the United States, so we looked at some of the things the supporters may be discussing on their way home from BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh...

United 1 Lyon 0


Donny van de Beek's superb second-half volley maintains the Reds' winning start to pre-season.


In the absence of an out-and-out centre-forward, it was a guessing game as to which Red would start in that role. As it turned out, there was a lot of rotation in the goalless first half, with Jadon Sancho often operating in the closest to what could be defined as a striker's role.

Amad and Antony were also getting into dangerous positions from the flanks, while Hannibal initially, and later Mason Mount, would produce surges into the box.


The Reds appeared to be under instruction to build from defence, with Matej Kovar looking comfortable in this respect. Lisandro Martinez revelled in the idea of inviting pressure, only to expertly keep possession with feints and body swerves. There is a feeling we will see this a lot more in 2023/24, and there was real composure on show in the opening 45 minutes.


The crowd loved seeing Jonny Evans back out there in a United shirt, for the first time since he left for West Brom in 2015. A Red through and through, he wasted little time in attempting an ambitious first-time pass out to the left and appeared to relish the occasion, in front of his wife, MUTV's very own Helen Evans, in the crowd. In the 71st minute, one sliding tackle produced a roar from those in attendance.

The centre-back still clearly has much to offer at the highest level and is pencilled in for another outing when we take on Wrexham in San Diego, as part of the US Tour.


Back in January, everybody felt sympathy for van de Beek when he had to go for a loose ball, against Bournemouth, and ended up suffering a serious knee injury. It brought a premature end to his season but the Dutchman worked hard on his recovery and has put himself in a position to be available for selection again, after the Leeds game came just soon for him.

It was a startling volley, applied to Gore's superb cross, which was welcomed by the crowd, and a moment to savour for Donny, who showed his elation by howling in delight.

How Donny opened the scoring Video

How Donny opened the scoring

📽 MATCH MOMENT | Here's how Donny van de Beek put United 1-0 up against Lyon, live on MUTV...


The young midfielder's ability to hit the ball on the run from a tight position near the touchline, and deliver such an inviting cross to van de Beek, was something to behold. There was much more than this one highlight to his 45-minute display, though. A pocket powerhouse in the engine room, he switched positions effortlessly and cropped up at right-back when Marc Jurado tucked into more advanced spaces. 

The FA Youth Cup winner can be well pleased with a mature display that showcased his potential, enjoying playing alongside such an experienced figure as Fred.


Matej Kovar came on for the second half in Oslo but played the full 90 minutes this time around, keeping another clean sheet. The 23-year-old has radiated assurance and confidence, and has clearly benefited from his successful loan at Sparta Prague. He's always been a giant of a man but is relaxed with the ball at his feet. One catch near the end was well appreciated and, hopefully, there is more to come from the Academy graduate. 

Ten Hag: Evans deal mutually beneficial


The boss has explained Jonny Evans's return, on a short-term contract.


The official attendance was announced as 48,484, which is an impressive figure considering the timing of the match and testament to the loyalty of the Reds' fans and the appeal of Ten Hag's team. Those who turned up at Murrayfield will surely have enjoyed a rare opportunity to see United live in Scotland, and there was a good atmosphere throughout, even when the temperature dropped when the sun went behind the clouds! Even a few pitch invaders after the final whistle failed to take the gloss off the day.


We all know it's not about the results in friendlies like this but it's still two wins out of two for the team, in advance of the trip to the United States. We've yet to concede a goal and all of our strikes have come in the second half, when a number of youngsters have taken the chance to impress. It's Arsenal next at the weekend, Saturday night in the UK, and that will be another test for the squad.