With Manchester United in town to face Perth Glory on Saturday night the A-League Premiers were on the world stage.

Unfortunately for Tony Popovic, he was lacking most of his star performers so his side were unable to put on a show to fit the occasion.

As far as pre-season hit-outs go, this one was about as inconveniently timed as possible for Glory with only a handful of first team players back in pre-season training and available for selection. As such, the spectacle greatly suffered as United ambled to a 2-0 victory.

Photo : Ngau Kai Yan

“Did you expect anything different?” Popovic asked.

“The majority of players have had to play – after a couple of weeks of training – basically a full match on a heavy pitch.”

But with over 50,000 fans in to see the show and the eyes of the British press and Premier League fans fixated on United’s first game since the end of last season, should Glory have done more to ensure they had sufficient talent on hand to compete against the English giants?

Two 15-year-olds sat on a Glory bench with an average age of 20, which paled in comparison to the galaxy of stars warming the bench for United in the first half, including Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, David De Gea and Juan Mata.

Photo : Ngau Kai Yan

With Jason Davidson’s departure and Diego Castro, Matthew Spiranovic, Chris Ikonomidis and Andy Keogh all still enjoying their off-season breaks, Glory could only call upon half of the side which started the A-League Grand Final less than two months ago.

It was a fantastic chance to see how one of Australia’s best-performing club sides in recent years would fare against one of the world’s biggest sides but Glory’s half-strength line-up meant the football match itself was nothing but a damp squib.

You can watch the A-League live for only $25 a month. Click here to read our review of Kayo Sports and to start your 14-day free trial.

“It would have been different if we opened up and made it an exhibition game. It could have been seven, nine, ten United goals because they can score at any moment,” Popovic said.

“We could have done that but our players are not equipped to deal with that at this stage, and the young players we’ve got cannot physically play that open where they have to do so many repeat sprints and runs at this stage.

“You can see Manchester United, the calibre and quality they had. They changed 11 players at half time; we didn’t have that luxury.

“We tried to play out from the back, it made it more difficult for us by doing that but under extreme pressure is the best way to learn and the best way to get better.”

Featured image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

SHARE
Football nut, student journalist and firm believer that Berisha dived in the 2012 A-League Grand Final. Covering Perth Glory for the 2018/19 season.