Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed Donny van de Beek’s Manchester United debut as the “biggest plus” following their friendly defeat by Aston Villa.
The midfielder, who arrived from Ajax this summer in a £40million move, played the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 loss at Villa Park on Saturday.
It was an experimental side from Solskjaer, who was without star midfielders Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Fred and Nemanja Matic.
And the Norwegian was pleased Van de Beek’s performance despite the result.
“Donny was maybe the biggest plus outfield,” Solskjaer told MUTV. “He’s such a finder of space and creates time for himself with his timing and movement. I was very happy with his performance.”
The Red Devils boss was without 16 first-team players but is hopeful he’ll have his big-names back in time for next weekend’s opener with Crystal Palace.
He added: “Yeah, of course we expect more of them to be match fit because the international players who didn’t travel today didn’t have the minutes and we’ll get a few more back.
“Well I think in the first-half we played some good stuff, created chances and the most important thing is valuable minutes.
“This pre-season is such a strange and different one for us. We’ve had two weeks back and it’s only one week until we start the league.
“Of course, [playing in the] Europa League will help us in that respect. Players who have played over the summer don’t really need that much and some of the international games helped us, you could clearly see that some of them needed minutes.”
Midfielder Pogba is back in training after his positive COVID-19 test and Solskjaer said he hoped the Frenchman would be available for their season opener at home.
“Paul’s had a couple of training sessions so he’s lost out on a few sessions because of the virus. But Paul is quick to get fit,” Solskjaer added.
“Of course, he worked really hard to get back after lockdown last time and played the majority of the games. Hopefully, he’ll be ready for next weekend. I am not 100% sure though.”