To their credit, Manchester United players haven’t made excuses during their worst ever start to a Premier League season. Jonny Evans gave an interview to the Daily Mirror this week and said this:
“We are disappointed with our performance – we watched parts of our game back and we know our performance level wasn’t up to scratch,” he explained.
“I think the onus is on the players to step up, and show what we are capable of, as individuals and as a team, especially in possession.
“We have been giving the ball away too sloppily, and we know that as Manchester United, we need to control games in possession. We have to do better.
“As players know we haven’t played well enough, both as individuals and as a team. We have to look at ourselves and raise our performances,” he said.
But these words appear hollow…or a significant portion of the squad just doesn’t feel the same way about things.
These comments were made prior to Manchester United’s game against Stoke City. For the better part of the match versus Stoke, the majority of United player had been continuing to underachieve.
All the motivation and positive quotes are not going to save Manchester United’s season. These players have to regain the fire that was lost. United are being attacked and outworked by their Premier League opponents match after match.
The few positives for the club (the consistent performances of Wayne Rooney, David de Gea, and Adnan Januzaj) have been overshadowed by inconsistent performances, lack of focus, and erratic decision making of players such as Patrice Evra, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley, and Nani.
Injuries to Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have also affected the squad. Manchester United’s defense has been extremely disorganized in their absence. If those two players are going to miss an extended period of time, United supporters had better be patient while the new defensive unit learns to play with each other.
Bottom line for Manchester United is “talk is cheap”. At some point these players are going to have to back their words with strong performances. This doesn’t mean a stretch of good play for 15-20 minutes. The club needs to start stringing concentrated efforts for ninety minutes over a span of five or six games.
The answer to Manchester United’s season lies within the players.