“We can’t afford to lose,” says Patrice Evra ahead of Sunday’s trip to White Hart Lane and few would disagree with the United left-back, for this weekend’s clash against Tottenham could be a watershed moment as far as David Moyes’ first season at the club is concerned.
Having beaten Arsenal, United failed to pick up any significant momentum and slumped to a dreadful draw at Cardiff last week, an infuriating result not only because the Reds conceded a late equaliser for the third time this season after letting in late goals against Shakthar and Southampton, but also because it came on the back on a terribly insipid performance.
Patrice Evra believes Manchester United can not be written off as title challengers, but admits that the Reds can’t afford to lose against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
United conceded a late equaliser in the corresponding fixture last season, but arrive in North London on the back of an 11-game unbeaten run in all competition and face a Tottenham side still smarting from the 6-0 shellacking they suffered at the hands of Manchester City last week.
Jonny Evans has claimed that despite United’s stuttering start to the season, the players have never felt the need to hit the panic button, nor have they lost confidence in their abilities, despite a number of set-backs, including last Sunday’s draw against Cardiff.
United got off to their first season under David Moyes in the worst way possible way, with pressure mounting on the new manager to start delivering results, after defeats against Liverpool, Manchester City and West Brom. The Reds, however, have now gone 11 games unbeaten and despite being seven points adrift of league leaders Arsenal, Evans insist they’ll travel to White Hart Lane full of confidence this Sunday.
Ryan Giggs might turn 40 today, but the United legend shows no signs of being in a rush of hanging up his boots, nor has his appetite for success been satisfied by the unprecedented amount of trophies he’s collected during his career.
Should he play on Sunday against Spurs, Giggsy would become only the seventh player in history to take part in a Premier League match after turning 40 - Kevin Phillips, Teddy Sheringham, Gordon Strachan, Brad Friedel, Mark Schwarzer and Mike Pollitt did it before him – and after his vintage performance against Bayer Leverkusen, few would bet against him being involved again.
David Moyes insisted he’s determined to enjoy more wins like last night’s 5-0 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen and that best is yet to come for Manchester United this season.
An injury-depleted United arrived in Germany on the back of stuttering start to the season and facing a team that a lost just once in the last 12 games in all competitions, but the Reds produced a superb performance, putting the host to the sword from the start and ran riot throughout the games, scoring five goals and securing a spot in the knockout stage of the Champions League.
At times, very rarely, football offers moments when form goes out of the window, predictions are disregarded and expectations are forgotten in the blink of an eye, giving way to an unpredictable, yet exhilarating, 90 minutes.
That, in a nutshell, sums up United’s trip to Leverkusen, for not even the most optimistic of Reds – a species growing increasingly rare in recent times – would have envisaged the superb performance David Moyes’ men offered tonight as they put Bayer Leverkusen to the sword in swashbuckling fashion.
Manchester United face Bayer Leverkusen tonight in the Champions League, hoping to bounce back from the disappointment of Sunday’s draw at Cardiff and, more crucially, take a decisive step towards the knockout stage of the competition.
It won’t, however, be an easy task – a rather recurrent theme this season – as while United arrive in Germany still unbeaten and top of Group A, their route to the knockout stage could become extremely trickier were they to fail to pick up a positive result tonight, against a Leverkusen team that has won the last seven games in the Champions League on home turf.
Former Manchester United number two Mike Phelan has claimed he was in charge of Manchester United over the last five years, given the amount of work Sir Alex Ferguson chose to delegate to his assistant.
Phelan, who departed the club in the wake of David Moyes’ arrival at Old Trafford, said that while Sir Alex Ferguson remained the public face of the club, much of the work behind the scenes and on the training ground was delegate to his coaching staff, including Phelan.
Rio Ferdinand has claimed that despite a stuttering start to the season, Manchester United are still a force to be reckoned with in the title race and that he isn’t worried about the look of the current Premier League table, for the only that matters is to be at the top of the pile after the last game of the season.
United’s 2-2 draw at Cardiff on Sunday, saw the Reds conceding a late equaliser for the second time this season and have seen David Moyes’ men drop to sixth, seven points adrift of league leaders Arsenal.
Manchester United could soon turn to Everton. But before the conspiracy theorists get carried away, United aren’t planning to hire yet more members of David Moyes’ former staff at Goodison Park, nor are they planning to swap Adnan Januzaj for Leon Osman.
Instead, United are said to be considering a January move for Brazilian striker Everton Ribeiro, whose name alone is granted to generate widespread irony given the circumstances that have surrounded Moyes and United since the Scotsman replaced Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
It’s not known whether football is played in Heaven, but if the beautiful game graces the abode of the angels, then November 25th must be the day when great players are introduced to their teammates.
Eight years ago today, Reds and non across the globe mourned the passing of George Best, one of the greatest players to have ever lived and arguably the symbol of a generation and a figure still idolised by United fans. Today, Manchester United Football Club (for the man himself lived throughout an era when teams were essentially just that, football clubs) lost a man who, despite being the polar opposite of Best, reached a status every bit as legendary as the Belfast boy.
David Moyes has admitted Manchester United can’t afford to concede late goals as the one that deprived of two points against Cardiff yesterday, or else their chances of retaining the league are going to be all but gone in the next couple of months.
United led 2-1 going into the final exchanges of the game but were pegged back by a Kim Bo-Kyung header in the first of four minutes of added time, after Chris Smalling had given away a free-kick.
Well, that was coming, wasn’t it? Having held on for large parts of the game United surrendered a late equaliser at Cardiff, a timely reminder that things are not going to come easy this season.
Not only are things not going to come easy for the Reds this season, but United conspired to make their life harder by missing a couple of chances in the second half which, had they been converted, would have put the game to bed.
David Moyes has admitted that Ryan Giggs could be offered a new contract, which would take the Welshman past his 41st birthday with him still a professional football player at the very highest level.
Giggsy will turn 40 on Friday, but the United manager that there’s no reason as to why United’s most capped player shouldn’t be offered a new deal if he felt he could continue for a further 12 months, even though Giggs has already joined David Moyes’ staff this season.