The Hard Tackle takes a look at some of the key stories pertaining to Manchester United doing the rounds.
Manchester United were were only able to come home with a point in the bag from Goodison Park after a 1-1 draw with Everton. As the Red Devils attempt to move on from Sunday’s disappointment here’s a roundup of everything happening in and around Old Trafford.
Gary Neville on Manchester United’s “softness”
The Manchester United legend has hit out at his former club’s “softness” after Jose Mourinho’s side conceded late from a Leighton Baines penalty to settle for a disappointing 1-1 draw against Everton. The stalemate meant that United have now drawn six of their last eight games, winning once and losing the other.
Speaking to Sky Sports post the match, Neville said that Mourinho will be “devastated that his team have a softness to them and can’t see games out”. He said: “It got to 85 minutes and you knew it was a big moment. It’s not a one off, it’s getting to the stage where you are saying is that what they are, because they have done it so many times.”
He added: “Jose Mourinho will be losing faith in the sense they are playing quite well – although they didn’t play brilliantly today – but not seeing it out. You have to see it out. That’s the disappointment.”
Marouane Fellaini conceded the decisive penalty in the 88th minute, after he clipped Idrissa Gueye in the Manchester United box. Baines duly converted and condemned United to yet another night of disappointment.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: I’d swap my goal for a win
Meanwhile, Sunday’s goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said that he was delighted with his goal, but would much rather prefer if the Red Devils won the game. He also reserved special praise for teammate Anthony Martial, whose probing ball found Ibrahimovic before the Swede lobbed Maarten Stekelenburg to give Manchester United the lead.
Speaking to MUTV [via manutd.com], Ibrahimovic said: “I went for the run in the space and got a fantastic ball from Martial. I saw the goalkeeper come out and I just tried to time it good and went to touch the ball. It hit the post, hit the bar and in the end it went in.
“I scored but in the end it only got me and the team one point. I would prefer not to score but win the game, that’s my way of thinking. We have to fight more and do more to get the three points we need.”
Jose Mourinho delighted to welcome Eric Bailly back from injury
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has expressed his delight and relief to see centre back Eric Bailly return from a knee injury that had seen the Ivory Coast international sidelined since 23rd October. Bailly sustained the knee ligament injury in United’s 4-0 loss at Chelsea.
Bailly, though, returned to the Manchester United squad a week ahead of schedule as they drew at Everton on Sunday. Speaking on Bailly’s comeback, Mourinho told MUTV: “To have Eric back is good news, even though it is only for a few weeks because we know he goes to the Africa Cup of Nations very soon [in January]. But at least in this busy period of Christmas we have one more option. That’s important.”
Manchester United have a busy December ahead of them, as they are yet to play six games in a span of twenty four days, six games that can make or break their campaign. As his side prepares to travel to Ukraine to take on Zorya Luhansk in a Europa League group stage fixture, Mourinho will be hoping to have his central defender back into the scheme of things.
Phil Jones wants the trend of draws to end
Meanwhile, centre back Phil Jones has confessed that the recent trend of drawing games must come to an end, and that the Red Devils must find a way to convert the dominant performances into wins. Speaking on his annoyance post the draw against Everton, Jones said that United can’t afford to keep on making the same mistakes again and again.
When asked on his thoughts on the result, Jones said: “We are losing too many points now, it’s becoming a common trend, and we need to put that right quick. I can think of four or five games now where we have dominated but not managed to win. It’s happened again and I’m gutted. Zlatan scored a great goal but it’s worthless in a game you draw when you should have won.”
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