Despite insisting Manchester United were at a disadvantage heading into his second fixture as manager, Jose Mourinho would have hoped for a far better result against Borussia Dortmund.
Goals from Gonzalo Castro (two), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele saw the Red Devils slump to an underwhelming 4-1 defeat at the Shanghai Stadium.
It was United fans' second opportunity to see two of their summer signings in action - Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan - yet the overriding sense from their respective performances was that the best must surely be to come.
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Indeed, Bailly was part of a defence that shipped four goals and Mkhitaryan, aside from scoring his first goal for the club, was far from his best.
Analysing their displays is a far more complex task than merely what the scoreline suggests, though.
Following an excellent season in La Liga with Villarreal, Bailly's £30 million arrival at Old Trafford was met by much fanfare.
However, upon securing the Ivorian's signature, Mourinho admitted he 'didn't know' whether he was ready for first-team action, much to the bewilderment of fans.
Based on Bailly's second performance in a United shirt, though, it's perhaps easy to see why.
Rash tackles, misplaced passes and lapses in concentration summed up a mediocre afternoon for the 22-year-old, who looked vulnerable at times.
A particular moment of naivety was during Dortmund's first goal. When a goalmouth scramble ensued after Sam Johnstone parried Aubameyang's free-kick, Bailly was seen idly standing on the penalty spot while Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia frantically attempted to clear the ball.
Bailly has the makings of a top-class centre-back, but to prise the best out of him, Mourinho must iron out a number of flaws.
MKHITARYAN ABSENT ON THE LEFT
Twenty-six million for a player of Mkhitaryan's quality will undoubtedly prove a remarkable coup in the long run, but the issue remains of where his best position is.
Mourinho started the Armenian on the left wing but for the first 45 minutes, he might as well have not been playing.
Only until he was shifted into a more central role did Mkhitaryan come to life. His creativity, movement and skill all come to the fore after the break, with a simple tap-in from Juan Mata's cross capping a fine second period.
Quite how Mourinho will fit the 27-year-old into his starting line-up remains to be seen but upon initial inspection, he's far more effective when played in the No.10 role.
A disappointing defeat it might have been, but the point in pre-season friendlies - especially for a new manager - is to prepare and adapt.
And if anyone can do that, it's Mourinho. The best is definitely still to come.
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