Louis van Gaal got his Manchester United reign off to the perfect start last night as his side cruised to a 7-0 demolition of LA Galaxy.
The Dutchman fielded a different side in each half at California's Rose Bowl stadium as he looks to analyse who will be in his starting 11 come the start of the Premier League season on 16 August.
Goals from Danny Welbeck and braces from Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young and youngster Reece James gave van Gaal his first taste of victory as United manager on a night he set his players up in a 3-5-2 formation.
Weak though LA Galaxy were, United outclassed their American opponents with a combination of ball retention, aggressiveness and clinical finishes.
IBTimes UK highlights some of the talking points from van Gaal's first match in charge.
Much of the pre-match talk was about who van Gaal would entrust as his captain with the leading candidate being Wayne Rooney in the abscence of Robin van Persie. In the event it was handed to Darren Fletcher, one of United's experienced heads. It was a safe choice from the United manager who said in his post-match press conference that he was yet to decide who his full- time captain would be.
Robin van Who?
Danny Welbeck opened United's account with a powerful 25-yard drive with the inside of his foot that richoceted in off the left post. Rooney scored twice before the half-time break, once from the penalty spot, and from a tap in after a bungled Galaxy clearance, before Ashley Young and Reece James added the final blows. Van Gaal has said he prefers to play two strikers and as goals rained down in California, the former Netherlands manager showed compatriot Van Persie he faces stiff competition.
At the World Cup, Van Gaal proved he was not scared to change a side's identity to suit his vision. He set up the Netherlands, who almost religiously play 4-3-3, in a 3-5-2, using two enterprising wing- backs. Last night he did the same with United, deploying Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw in the first-half and Rafael and Reece James in the second as wide men. The system relies on centre-backs snuffing out danger lurking behind the probing full-backs, something United looked comfortable doing last night. However, tougher tests await United's new formation.
It's easy to see why United 'executives' raced over to Bilbao to try to sign the Spaniard last summer. Herrera was the heartbeat of United's first half performance. He busied himself in the middle by closing down opposing midfielders, popping out passes and displaying signs of strength that belied his small size. His link-up play with Juan Mata could prove to be very potent for United.
Faith in youth
Van Gaal liked to anchor his sides of the past with experienced players with a sprinkling of youth and that philosophy paid dividends with 20-year-old Reece James. The product of United's youth system looked comfortable on the left last night and as his goals attest, is not afraid to support the front men when the time is right. James's promotion to the first team squad could mitigate the loss of Patrice Evra.