Leeds United’s opponents for the opening day of the Premier League season, Manchester United, suffered a humbling defeat to Championship side Queens Park Rangers yesterday.
Pre-season preparations have been anything but smooth for the Red Devils, who have been left with a depleted squad by players requiring rest after international tournaments.
However, the team selected by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should have been enough to see off their Championship opponents and Leeds will be hoping it is a sign their bitter rivals will make a slow start to the new campaign.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard, Dan James and Mason Greenwood all featured from the start, but could not prevent QPR securing a comfortable 4-2 win at Loftus Road.
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Lingard opened the scoring after just three minutes, but the opener was soon cancelled out by Charlie Austin.
The hosts then ran riot, scoring in the 53rd, 58th and 59th minutes to give themselves a three-goal cushion.
Anthony Elanga hit back for the visitors, but it did not spark a comeback and it was QPR who received the confidence boost heading into the 2021/22 season.
Leeds will be desperate to avoid a repeat of last season’s trip to Old Trafford when they face Solskjaer’s men on August 14.
Manchester United were ruthless as they dismantled Leeds last December, winning 6-2 to send the Whites back to Yorkshire bitterly disappointed.
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However, Marcelo Bielsa’s side tightened up for the reverse fixture in April and held the visitors to a 0-0 draw.
It is, of course, not always possible to learn much from pre-season friendlies, but the Red Devils looked disjointed as they were carved open by Mark Warburton’s Rs.
The season is fast approaching and with key names still absent, they may have to learn to manage without them if they are not fully fit by August’s second Saturday.
Leeds visit non-league neighbours Guiseley on Tuesday for their first pre-season friendly of the summer, before facing Blackburn Rovers, Fleetwood Town, Real Betis and Ajax.