After this stroll of a victory José Mourinho became the latest Manchester United manager to rule out a move for Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Mission impossible” was how the Portuguese billed it. “We have never thought about it because he is such an important player for his club, of great economic power. I am not a defender of my club once you waste time on players who are mission impossible,” he said, and so United fans will have to put on hold their dreams of a romantic return of a player they still adore.
Of Real’s Álvaro Morata, who Mourinho has targeted, the manager said: “It is a question for Florentino [Pérez, Real president]. He belongs to Madrid. Madrid has decided and we have not come to an agreement. It is simple. It is a shame. It is a player who made it to the first team with me [when he managed Real]. We have a special liking for [him], he is someone special. I enjoyed watching his evolution in Juventus and Madrid. It is like that. I don’t think he can end with us.”
United’s post-Wayne Rooney era began with Mourinho fielding a rarely deployed 3-5-1-1 and the £75m man Romelu Lukaku waiting until the second half for his debut.
United’s new No9 did not score yet did not appear out of place against a particularly poor LA Galaxy outfit. Mourinho said: “A good thing for me today is he [showed] he’s a team player and was not worried about himself. He was worried about the improvement of the team. He didn’t score goals, but he played better than the ones who did score goals.”
Mourinho confirmed the three centre-backs shape is not next term’s default formation but will be deployed occasionally, and said there is no official deputy to the new captain, Michael Carrick.
“We don’t have a vice captain, a captain is enough, Michael is obviously the captain,” he said. “I don’t like the criteria that the captain is to be the one with the most time in the club because sometimes you have somebody with the armband just because he arrived before other players. We are going to try and feel, and make decisions, we have people that step by step we have to prepare because Michael will be the captain for one year, maybe two if he decides to do that and his body resists the demands of the Premier League and Champions League. But for the season only one captain.”
In front of a watching David Beckham, who gave this friendly a touch of glitter, United’s first outing since Rooney left for Everton and the Europa League was claimed in late-May began perfectly.
Captained by Carrick, less than three minutes were gone when United shifted gear. Jesse Lingard, the left wing-back, forced the ball into Marcus Rashford’s path. Rashford cantered forward and rolled beyond Jon Kempin, and that was 1-0.