Manchester Under-23s coach Ricky Sbragia was pleased with the work-out as all of his squad got a game in a pre-season friendly with Austrian outfit SV Ried.
“They were quite strong and a good football team. Physically, they were ahead of us but it was a good exercise. ”Sometimes we caused our own problems but that will be down, we hope, to just tiredness and we can sort that out. The main thing for us is the first league game and the continuation going into the matches so we’ll be, hopefully, up and running by then.”
When Thomas Mayer slipped the opener past Matej Kovar on 15 minutes, it was no more than Ried deserved and the Reds keeper later made a smart save to keep the scoreline at 1-0. Callum Gribbin’s free-kick hit the wall, and Aidan Barlow looped the rebound off target, with the Reds’ most threatening moment of an opening half played in bright sunshine.
Wholesale changes were made at the interval, as planned, before Darijo Pecirep doubled the Austrians’ lead with a simple finish to an incisive move that carved through the United defence. More substitutions followed, with some players returning to the fray and Under-18s midfielder Aliou Traore getting a bonus run-out after featuring, and scoring a superb solo goal, in a practice game earlier in the day.
Zak Dearnley was unable to convert a chance at the far post with five minutes left, as the ball flew at him at pace, but this friendly was never going to be about the result.
“When teams play United, they tend to be a bit stronger and want to beat us,”added Sbragia.
“We want to win games, no doubt, but we’ve been back nine days and worked extremely hard. It’s been a tough one and I’m quite pleased with them. We could have retained the ball better but we only did that when it was too late.“I think this trip gets them to come together and that’s the great thing. The facilities are good and the weather has been absolutely tremendous.”
United: Kovar (Fojticek 46); Tanner (Ercolani 46), Warren (O’Connor 71), Borthwick-Jackson (Tanner 71), O’Connor (Dunne 46); Poole (Buffonge 46), Barlow (Sang 46), Gribbin (Traore 71); Dearnley (Whelan 46), Wilson (Baars 46), Burkart (Dearnley 70).