Good preseason form continues for Newcastle with 3-0 win over 1860 Munich in Austria
SAALFELDEN: It was the Bruno Guimaraes show for Newcastle United as they strolled to a three-goal win over 1860 Munich in Austria to make it two wins out of two this summer.
The Brazilian picked up where he left off last season with a goal and an assist as Eddie Howe’s men continued their preparations for the new Premier League season in continental Europe.
Fellow midfielders Joe Willock and Sean Longstaff also got on the score sheet as the backdrop for their latest preseason test was the towering peaks of the Austrian Alps at the picturesque Saalfelden Arena.
“The first-half was difficult,” said Howe, whose side netted all three of their goals after the halftime break.
“They were clearly trying to slow the game down, which is their right. The referee didn’t help because we wanted a quick game. We wanted high tempo, a lot of running, a lot of transition work but it wasn’t there in the first half,” he added.
“We didn’t really get what we wanted but we didn’t really help ourselves in that. I thought we were lethargic, but we have worked the players very hard this week.
“They’ve been tested in a lot of different ways, so we knew we were coming into the game fatigued and that showed during the first period.”
Howe handed England international Nick Pope his debut from the off and while the Germans pressured and peppered his goal with a number of efforts in the opening 45, he rarely looked likely to lose his clean sheet, the gold standard for any goalkeeper.
United looked jaded in the first period and rarely threatened at the other end, although Willock went closest when played in by youngster Elliot Anderson.
Shortly after the break, the game took on a whole different complexion, as Callum Wilson, previously starved of service, skewed over the bar.
Willock saw a goal-bound effort palmed over Marco Hiller before it was third time lucky for the former Arsenal man.
Some clever work from Jonjo Shelvey opened up space for Willock in the area and the attacking midfielder smashed home left-footed to send the 200 or so traveling United fans wild.
One goal to the good, Howe then called for changes — all 10 of them on the hour, having thrown on Sven Botman for his bow at the break.
And that is when the fun really started — and Bruno came to the party.
“That was the plan for those players,” Howe said. “We handpicked the players we felt, at this stage, could play longer and needed to protect a bit more, mostly the international boys have had less training.
“I think that was the best thing to do. The international boys playing half an hour looked fresher and their performance was very, very good.
“We’re very pleased with the last part of the game. The first 60 minutes, as I say, I think we were a little bit fatigued.”
Guimaraes strode on to the pitch for his first minutes of the summer and made this small square of Austria home.
Confidently flicking and maneuvering the ball around, his skill forced the opposition into their shell — in fact, he seemed determined not to allow them even to move from their own box.
Less than five minutes after coming on he caressed into the path of Longstaff who cracked home emphatically for two.
And it was three when his pressure and clever feet somehow squeezed the ball from a Munich defender to set Chris Wood free. Unselfishly the New Zealander relinquished the opportunity to open his summer account and squared to Guimaraes, who put the icing on the cake for Howe & Co.
With a World Cup on the horizon and a new season to navigate at United, the world appears to be Guimaraes’ oyster.
A player with a deft touch to rival any in the division and a magnetic control with ball at feet seen rarely in world football, Guimaraes is destined for the top.
He may well touch it in November and December with Seleção in Qatar, but can he do the same with United? He certainly seems determined to try.
The next task for Howe is to make sure his squad is filled with enough “Brunos” to make Champions League football on Tyneside a reality.