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Young: We Knew We Weren’t Playing Well

Manchester United fans were able to breathe a huge sigh of relief when the team managed to go in 1-0 up at half-time following a Wayne Rooney goal. United had been outplayed for much of the first half and probably would have been happy with just stopping Spurs from scoring.

Ashley Young went on to score two second half goals in a game United won 3-1 and he has acknowledged United weren’t at their best on the day.

“In the first half we weren’t at our best and then we went 1-0 up,” Young said. “In the second half, getting two goals away from home is great and getting the win is even better. I think all the players knew we weren’t playing to our potential but we did that in the second half and did well to get the two goals. Our passing game just wasn’t on form. It happens. We were lucky to get in one up at half-time and we kicked on from there.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Gopher Brown says:

    It was an unbelievable result considering how badly we played for the majority of the game. Giving the ball away repeatedly; making the wrong decision to hold the ball when we should have passed; totally overrun in midfield, but then, that’s the United way these days. Apart from Evans, Rio and de Gea, nobody played well, even Ashley Young was well below standard despite scoring twice.

  2. ScholesForGoals says:

    Agreed. Great about-turn performance, Ashley executed both his finishes well… that’s both North London clubs now he’s scored against in similar fashion. The lad’s got a wicked curl on him. Well done Reds. Must have pissed CIty off a treat – always on their heels…

    Scott, Mondays are negative enough, and I don’t wish to be so, but you gotta get rid of all these ads! Getting well annoying now :)

  3. Costas says:

    That’s the trademark of champions though. :)

  4. YesRed says:

    Even though the team aren’t playing well,they are getting the required 3 points. I’ll take this any time of the day.
    Sooner an ugly win than nothing at all.

  5. Keanski says:

    if you win your games, even when your´re not showing your best performance (and that against a team of the top-4): that´s the material true champions are made of! after yesterdays result I´m sure we´ll kick shitty from the top of the table…! tony-V´s comeback will be essential – at the moment our wingers are both out of form.

    [20 times - and that will soon be a fact!]

  6. NigerianRed says:

    Young seems to have a way of scoring even when his performance is questionable. I think he’s a lucky lad and will come good for the club shortly.

  7. Jeet says:

    @NigerianRed: Young is the Hernandez of wingers. Like I said, in the previous thread, he may not do as much as TonyV or Nani during a match, but in front of goal, he is the most lethal of the three. Everyone is banging on about his second goal, but just how stupendous was the finish on the first?

    Media would be creaming their pants if it had been

  8. Jeet says:

    …any “big name”

    for some reason, the blog edited the version where I put in parenthesis and said “insert any big name here”

  9. ClaytonBlackmoresTan says:

    I still don’t think we played that badly. I don’t think Spurs were that good. We were clinical, they weren’t. Game over.

    On to 20…

  10. MansionOfTheReds says:

    @nigerianred and jeet

    not to sound negative but he’s scored just 6 goals so far.. and 2 came in a game when the whole team was scoring for fun. I think his strength lies in providing lofted crosses into the box. valencia is good at powerful low level shots and nani has his dribble inside but young has the best air balls..

    I actually want to see him get into more goalscoring areas and take shots on goal

  11. Jeet says:

    @Mansion: Agree, that its still early days, and like I say, I’m not even a big fan of Young. But you take a look at the goal he scored against ajax, and you gotta wonder whether Nani or TonyV would have that level of composure inside the box, even though arguably, they are better all-round players.

  12. Esteban says:

    ClaytonBlackmoresTan – agree that people have been a bit over the top re how bad we were/good they were in first half. I was only able to see 2nd half live and read a lot of commentary re being “dominated” and “overrun” in first half before just seeing replay of it. Our attacking game was definitely off, but spurs were quite underwhelming as well and our defense was barely troubled.

  13. Doghouse says:

    I think folks are being harsh about how United performed to be honest. I think we went there to beat them on the counter and you know what we did? We beat them on the counter. Some points to consider:

    1. They pressed us hard, all across the part. No time, no space. In short Spurs played a brilliant and aggressive game. Really impressive without the ball. This was always going to create mistakes, it was always going to make us struggle to look good. This is what you get when a team really puts in a shift, you can win, but you’re probably not going to look too clever because it’s hard to look clever with the tackles flying in and no time on the ball.

    2. We defended brilliantly as a unit. Spurs score a lot of goals, but they created close to zilch against us. De Gea made a couple of smart stops, they could have had one goal in Adebayor hadn’t been in the way of Saha, and they scored one when the game was over. That was it. Evans was brilliant and only a brace for Young away from being Man of the Match. They had loads of the ball and got shut out. This Spurs attack has real teeth, so to come to their manor and lock them out like that is not a team playing badly, it’s a defence on top of it’s game.

    3. Three goals, could have been more. You go away from home and stick three in the onion bag you have not done badly. Our defence was solid, our attack was clinical, that won us the title last season and got the result on Sunday. So we didn’t see much of the ball for spells, so what? If we’re scoring and they are not then let them roll it around outside the area.

    To an extent I think this is a bit of mind games from Fergie. He knows we were great on Sunday, he’ll have had a word to Evans about that display, and Rio, and De Gea, and Young and all the lads who got us that result. He’ll keep it humble because that’s his way, but those lads know they did well.

    We have to be realistic about games like this you see, second place in the table can’t expect to go to third place in the table and dominate them and win. On paper sure we should have expected to win, but if you think you’re going to go to the home of a decent club and crush them you’re dreaming. We went to Spurs, braced the defence, soaked their attacks then fired in the counter-punches. That’s usually how we play on the road against the better teams and it worked like a charm. You know what? You’re not going to look like the better side playing that game, it’s not showy, it’s not flamboyant, it’s cagey and stoic, but it works.

    So I say if people want to say we played badly let them. What I saw on Sunday was a United side with a plan that got a result through clinical finishing and some world class defending.

    And I’ll say it again, Evans was superb. Like a lot of us I’m sure I was shitting bricks when Vidic crocked his knee. The lad has been lambasted, he’s been abused, he’s been scapegoated by many fans of this football club, but he’s been outstanding this season. Getting his head in to clear the lines, making some properly deft challenges, making interceptions, blocking shots, he’s shaping up to be a formidable presence.

  14. knightsmith says:

    Doghouse :

    Agree with what you say.

    And it is about time Evans got some recognition, he has been excellent lately and deserves some credit.

  15. kk says:

    Evans has been performing under the radar (since he got that red )after Jones & Smalling were taking all the plaudits. Even Rio came to his defense. I like him and Smalling at the back for us. He is the kind the media overlooks,but that helps with him concentrating. They called Ronaldo a diver,one trick pony but he became world player of the year then they agreed with the Man Utd family on what we have known all along.

  16. Jeet says:

    Top post from Doghouse. Here’s what I wrote on the previous thread.

    “what a lot of folk got to realize as well, is that the way you play is not independent of your opponent’s style. Spuds know only one way – come tearing out like bats outta hell. It’s always going to be “not so easy” against them. The right thing to do with them is to soak up the pressure, keep the focus and fuck them on the counter. I was worried in the first half as we kept giving away possession, but when I saw them raise their attacking tempo in the second half, I told my wife there’s another one waiting for us to get. And, can someone pls give some stats? From what I saw, they pressed, harried and battled out possession – and then did the square root of sweet fuckall with it :)

  17. King Eric says:

    Spot on Doghouse. Not to mention Jonny’s Cruyf turns!

  18. Saad says:

    I agree withe The Tan. The only thing that spurs did better than us is hold the ball longer and pass it around quicker than us for the first two thirds of the game.

  19. Gaffer says:

    No need to feel sorry for the performance. Spurs is the number 3 team in the country – by far, this season. To imagine they not whould be on top for their seasons cup-final, no matter what line-up they had, are foolish. In addition they surely wanted to make up for previous years without a win.

    No matter twist and turns, we will have number 20.

  20. Costas says:

    That’s what I said yesterday too. Spurs had more of the ball because we allowed them too. But other than the Adebayor goal, they never truly threatened us. Evans and Rio kept them at bay. Norwich gave us a bigger scare.

  21. utd_fc says:

    completely agree with Doghouse. And I for one am biting my tongue for doubting Evans. i won’t deny i was one of the many who did not have enough faith in him, but i can gladly say that evans proved me the fuck wrong! not many youngsters can come into a cb position in one of the biggest clubs of the world, even few can take the place of the hardest wall of a defender but Evans has done exactly that, and done it well. I totally agree that if it weren’t for Young’s goals Evans shoulda been motm.

  22. WillieRedNut says:

    You go to the 3rd best team in the country and score 3 goals. Only concede the one, but still people like to nit pick? Says more about those fans, than anything else. I said last week spurs would suit us more, than Norwich, because they attack you. That’s how it panned out. They always give you chances to score. We were clinical on the day. It won’t always work this way. I expect we’ll go on the attack at OT, and adopt these tactics away from home. United are as good as any in the league, on counter attacking football. We’ve got the players to kill any team on the break.

  23. King Eric says:

    Willie – Spot on as usual pal.

  24. ShelfLife says:

    Spurs fan here. I have to agree with the sentiments expressed above that I don’t think we played nearly as well as has been reported. We kept the ball very well and closed down reasonably well, but didn’t test your keeper nearly enough. In the end United did what they always seem to do against us, hit us with a couple of brilliant suckers and it was good night. The mark of champions I guess. Good luck with your title run in.

  25. Saad says:

    And may your lads get stuck in, Shelflife and ward off the gooners and rentboys for third place.

  26. orez says:

    I don’t mean to criticize players. What bothers me though is that I agree with the article that was linked in ROM reads. The guy put that before for United to have a bad game two things were required.
    1. We played shit
    2. Opposition had a great game
    But this days almost any opposition can make us look bad if they just put in the effort. It might sound arrogant but I am not trying to be. It just shows that either our quality went down, or the overall quality of the league went up, or both (This is it IMO). I don’t want to be a broken record about midfield, or the fact that the attackers can be toothless and our passing can be really off. I do believe though that not everything is great. We are winning and we can win the EPL, which I really hope, but the feeling of “transitional team” has been present for several years now. I just hope we are over it soon.

  27. James21 says:

    Was Adebayor playing his heart out for Spurs or Shitty yesterday. :D
    Seriously though hope you do ward off the Goons and that small time club of Rentboys.

  28. ShelfLife says:

    Cheers boys. Not quite sure what Ade was up to yesterday James. He’s not unlike Berba in that he’s capable of conjuring up moments of brilliance but can look pretty lethargic when he’s not at it.

  29. tom c says:


    massive amounts of respect for coming on here and putting down your team ever so slightly.

  30. ShelfLife says:

    Nice one Tom. I hope you boys manage to overhaul City for a well deserved 20th. You’ve got the greatest manager who ever breathed and he has almost single handedly turned your club into one of the select few great footballing dynasties. You are very lucky to have him.

  31. Costas says:


    Nice of you to drop by and offer your congrats. Thanks for the wish. I also wish you finish the season 2nd and above City. :)

  32. Redbilly says:

    As bad as the lads appeared in the first half they were disciplined and soaked up the pressure. That’s the thing about united , they can take the pressure of non possession. After the second the flow was all united . Do fucking disciplined

  33. Redbilly says:

    Doghouse-14:55- great post


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