The Levi's Stadium was sold out and filled, but Barcelona was hardly anywhere to be found against Manchester United. The start was blitzing, but after Luis Suárez hit the post, the team disappeared and got outplayed for the better part of 90 minutes. In the end, a 3-1 defeat that doesn't mean anything, but wasn't cool to see.
The Red Devils defended perfectly, pressing at the start of plays and quickly recovering to become compact close to its goal. Barça didn't reach an acceptable level, and partly due to the terrible pitch conditions -- it almost looked like a Beach Soccer match --, the Blaugrana were very sloppy with their passing, constantly conceding counter-attacks.
Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard and Adnan Januzaj were the goalscoers, and while the Catalan giants were better at the second half with Ivan Rakitic once again very intense, only Rafinha Alcântara was able to find the net with a cracking volley near the end.
Louis Van Gaal clearly took this game serious. Barça kind of slept through most of it, and it ended in a loss.
1. Please don't overreact, it's preseason. The "it's preseason!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" excuse can be annoying sometimes, but this was clearly the case. United was very intense and really wanted to test itself against the best team in the world. Meanwhile, Barça mostly wants to regain fitness after a long vacation, and they never really got into the game. That said...
2. Luis Suárez is not aware of the concept of preseason. It was almost scary sometimes. Suárez played like it was a Champions League Final. He was running everywhere, complaining about calls, going to the floor and sliding for 50/50 balls, calling for his teammates to help him defend. He was also the most dangerous player on the match, hitting the post twice and scoring a (well) disallowed goal.
3. Sergi Roberto has to step up. With Xavi Hernández gone, Sergi Roberto is no longer the last option at midfield. Until January, he's the guy backing up Rakitic, and he will play a lot until Arda Turan finally gets on the pitch. And just like he did against LA Galaxy, he was underwhelming. Unlike the other players on the first half team, Roberto cannot afford to waste opportunities and not try his best. He popped up here and there and tried a play or two, but overall, he wasn't good. That has to change.