The Red Devils were winning nothing, changed the guy in charge and suddenly there’s been carnage home and away on the trot. A streak unmatched since last 8 months. Certainly not a bad way to start managing a club that has experienced quite a bit of slump since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The caretaker manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was ecstatic indeed with the performance of his club in his initial three games at the helm but somewhere in the corner of his mind, there was a teeny-tiny demon screaming that his defense couldn’t keep a clean sheet with De Gea at the helm against relatively fragile attacks in the league.
This fact would have haunted none other than the goalkeeper himself, the Spaniard David De Gea and rightly so, In all the three games, the attacking and the midfield troikas seemed to have overshadowed the performance of the defense which showed signs of useless urgency when put under pressure.
Conceding a penalty at a crucial phase in a game at Cardiff due to an unforced error inside the box, conceding a goal when they had total control of the game against Huddersfield Town. These were the signs of complacency within the defense.
But these allegations were brushed aside a bit with a tough defense being put on display at the St. James’ Park on Wednesday. There were long balls, there were blazing free-kicks, there were astute passes by Newcastle. But to resist that, there were cautious tackles, interceptions and not many unforced errors at dangerous positions.
1⃣ clean sheet
4⃣ wins in a row
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 2, 2019
Not the most convincing of corrections given that they had failed to keep a clean sheet for over a month even with De Gea returning to form, but certainly on the right path.
After the Newcastle game, Ander Herrera, fellow teammate of De Gea didn’t retreat from mentioning the demons inside the goalkeeper’s head regarding the recent performances.
He was apt to address that the Spaniard was feeling the heat. The Spanish midfielder said:
“It was very important for David [ to keep a clean sheet],”
“We wanted to make David happy because he was a little bit disappointed the last games.”
“I had to cope with him after, killing my mind, telling me that he wanted a clean sheet!”
Even the Caretaker boss was pretty concise while pointing out that they were guilty of making some silly errors and they were willing to correct it. The manager was quoted as saying:
“It was the fourth clean sheet from open play on the spin,”
“Finally we kept a clean sheet from set pieces.”
“It was a very professional performance, we didn’t hit the heights that we can do but I felt we were in control and kept plugging away.”
Solskjaer was virtuous with the press while describing his side’s performance against the Magpies. He said:
“We controlled things more in the second half, we were sluggish in the first. It almost seemed like a testimonial at times, too many touches, too many square passes.” He said.
“But the big, big plus is a clean sheet.”
Sport is monument of mistakes and errors. At the end of the day, everything boils down to how briskly you adapt and tinker your plans to minimize your weakness on display.
The fans might feel assured with calming words coming from the man-in-charge himself who doesn’t seem willing to sit back and ponder over his initial managerial feats. Cometh the hour, The Norwegian is indeed looking to improvise every single facet of the Devils’ game.