During Manchester United’s pre-season friendly against Borussia Dortmund, Andre Onana, the new £47 million signing from Inter Milan and now United’s first-choice goalkeeper replacing David de Gea, caught the eye for several reasons.
Despite a 3-2 defeat, Onana showcased his qualities during the 45 minutes he spent on the pitch.
Initially starting on the substitutes’ bench alongside players like Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes, the 27-year-old Onana was brought on at the beginning of the second half to replace veteran goalkeeper Tom Heaton, who conceded two goals just before half-time.
Shortly after entering the game, Onana was called into action as Dortmund threatened to score a third goal. He demonstrated his skills by making a fine save, keeping his team in the contest.
However, it was Onana’s frustration with his teammates’ defending that drew attention. He was visibly upset with Harry Maguire, who had recently been stripped of the captaincy by manager Erik ten Hag.
Maguire, not wearing the captain’s armband for the Dortmund match as Scott McTominay held it, seemed to lack urgency in getting back defensively, which left Onana visibly displeased.
Video: Onana shouts at Maguire
Watch that clip here:
— United Center (@united_nk) July 31, 2023
@utd.devilz_ Ladies & Gentlemen, We’ve Found Our Number 1 😍🧤 | #onana #mufc #passion #fyp ♬ original sound – Utd Devilz
Onana makes a big save and immediately screams at Maguire for the mistake that almost led to a goal.
What a keeper. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Yh42xCRnq5
— UF (@UtdFaithfuls) July 31, 2023
Shortly after, Manchester United managed to level the scores when Antony skillfully guided the ball past goalkeeper Alexander Meyer with his preferred left foot.
Nevertheless, Dortmund reclaimed their one-goal lead with 20 minutes remaining, courtesy of an 18-year-old talent named Youssoufa Moukoko. Positioned on the edge of the six-yard box, Moukoko capitalised on Marco Reus’s pass, leaving Onana with little chance of making the save.
Despite conceding the goal, Onana can still take great satisfaction in his overall performance during the match.
His distribution, in particular, was outstanding at times.
One pass towards the end of the match was exquisite. With seconds left on the clock, Onana launched the ball long with a magnificent inch-perfect pass which landed perfectly onto the foot of Marcus Rashford.
Video: Onana’s excellent pass to Rashford
Watch Onana’s fabulous pass to Rashford here:
ONANA INCREDIBLE PASS BUT RASFORDDDD OH MY LORD 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/PCK5qTzXaQ
— Louis Arthur 🇶🇦 (@UTDlouis_) July 31, 2023
Quality like that is precisely why Ten Hag has brought Onana to Old Trafford. For all of De Gea’s shot-stopping qualities, distribution was a problem for the Spaniard.
Onana, on the other hand, is capable of producing excellent passes with either foot – and regularly chooses the right option.
A longer video of Onana’s individual highlights against Dortmund has emerged and shows more of the passes he produced on the night.
Video: Onana’s highlights vs Dortmund
Watch the video here:
What did Ten Hag say after Man Utd’s 3-2 defeat v Dortmund?
Ten Hag didn’t hold back after the final whistle, slamming his team’s performance after a positive start.
“Two parts – first hour [was] good, well performing, playing as a team, lot of dynamic, good pressing, so it was really enjoyable to see,” the Dutch coach was quoted saying byMan Utd’s official website. “That is what I wanted to say to the team at half-time and then all of a sudden they gave two goals away and they really were giveaways.
“So that was already annoying but the last half an hour was bad, was a poor performance. Didn’t follow the rules at all, not in pressing, not in building up and not in attacking, so there were 11 individuals finally on the pitch and that wasn’t good at all.”
🗣️ Erik ten Hag: “It was bad, a poor performance. They didn’t follow the rules at all, not in pressing, not in building-up or when attacking. They were 11 individuals on the pitch. That wasn’t good at all.” #MUFC pic.twitter.com/r3PSnCOB5I
— Stretford Paddock (@StretfordPaddck) July 31, 2023
Damning stuff from Ten Hag, whose team only have two more friendlies to play before their opening Premier League fixture against Wolves on August 14.
United face Lens and Athletic Bilbao at Old Trafford and the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
A team of fringe players is likely to feature against Lens, while Ten Hag’s first team should play against Athletic.
Man Utd have now lost three successive pre-season friendlies against Wrexham, Real Madrid and now Dortmund.
However, they did kick off their US Tour with an impressive 2-0 win over a strong Arsenal side containing the likes of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Martin Odegaard.
Asked if the tour had been useful overall, Ten Hag added: “I think so. The same I said to the team, I think it was a good tour but you want to finish with a good performance and you see only 60 minutes where I was pleased with but not with the goals we conceded because they were really poor.
“The first one was really poor defending and the second one really poor in building up and that is not us. We have to keep the control and you have to keep the responsibility on the ball and it was the same on the 3-2 for Dortmund, so [it] can’t happen and it’s unforgivable even if it’s a friendly.”
The disgruntled Ten Hag continued: “There are no excuses, we have to perform no matter what and then you have to be ruthless and win games because we are Man United and the fans are expecting from us wins.
“First we have to return of course, then we have one day off. But you see also after the last half an hour, we have to get back to standards with the team and get back into the patterns for what is needed to get a good league start. We have two games at the weekend and then we have still more than a week to prepare for the first game of the season.”