Manchester United slumped to a 1-1 draw with Everton with the Red Devils putting in a disappointing performance at Old Trafford continuing a poor string of form
Manchester United played poorly as they drew 1-1 with Everton at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils continued a worrying vein of form which has had the team looking bereft of ideas or a plan.
Against Everton, despite taking the lead, United were pegged back and never looked in control.
A number of players struggled in the game, including midfielder Fred, who failed to stop the Everton counter-attack that led to their goal.
Ex-United player turned pundit Owen Hargreaves explained the brutal way in which Sir Alex Ferguson would have dealt with the Brazillian for his performance.
Everton’s goal came from a corner and in the breakaway, Fred was beaten to the ball and then barged off it by Demarai Gray, who has impressed for the Toffees since joining.
From there, Gray raced towards goal and the move eventually led to Abdoulaye Doucoure teeing up Andros Townsend, who finished and mimicked Cristiano Ronaldo’s infamous celebration to add insult to injury.
Hargreaves made 39 appearances for United in the same holding role Fred is now occupying, and he was furious with his inability to stop Everton’s attack and prevent their goal.
He told Premier League Productions: “Never ever, not in a million years [should that goal be allowed to happen].
“That’s what you get paid for, that’s why you’re there, that’s your job to stop that goal. I would’ve taken that personally.
“He’s got two cracks at it, and both [times] he loses.
“It can’t happen. Sir Alex wouldn’t forgive you for that, you wouldn’t have played for a month, seriously.
“He has to win those tackles. And if he loses it, you foul him, you bring him down.
“You’ve got to win that. You cannot get bumped off the ball by Demarai Gray and if he does, you foul him.
“United don’t have control of games, it’s their corner, how can a goal like that happen?
“I know Harry Maguire is missing and they miss his leadership but if you’re going to play two defensive midfielders in there – McTominay and Fred – that goal can’t happen.”
Hargreaves highlighted a weakness of United that Ole Gunnar Solskjær pointed out as well, a vulnerability to counter-attacks and in transition.
This has been exacerbated as the team lack a top class defensive midfielder to anchor the team’s play around, control tempo, and prevent this type of goal.
Solskjaer pointed out how Villarreal how done a similar thing against them, and added: “We have to be better when to risk it how not to be counter-attacked that’s a key lesson today because they do create big chances from quick breaks.
“We weren’t too open, we had enough players behind the ball but we didn’t deal with the ball, the tackles when we should have, good goal by them but when they counter from one side the goal is going to happen from the other side so we just didn’t regroup and reorganise well enough.”
United’s poor performance equalled an unwanted 50-year record as they have conceded in each of their last nine league home games.
That’s their longest run of home games without a clean sheet in the top-flight since February 1971 where they conceded in 10 consecutive games.
But with a number of tough fixtures coming up they could well beat that record still.