Thursday 24 August 2017

'I don't want to see the table' - Ander Herrera expecting Man United to resurrect Premier League challenge

Ander Herrera has impressed during a frustrating Premier League campaign for Manchester United
Ander Herrera has impressed during a frustrating Premier League campaign for Manchester United

Simon Peach

Ander Herrera is confident fine displays will belatedly bring Manchester United good fortune and help resurrect their Premier League season.

United may be through to the EFL Cup semi-finals and Europa League knockout stages, but such progress is tempered by their struggles in the league.

Jose Mourinho's men have won just one of their last eight Premier League matches, seeing them enter the weekend a mammoth nine points off the Champions League places and a further four off the summit.

Sunday offers the chance to reel in fifth-placed Tottenham and end a run of four successive league draws at Old Trafford - a frustrating period that has perplexed in-form midfielder Herrera.

"To be honest, I don't think we have to look at the table and think who is above, who is below, who is the next game," the Spain midfielder said. "Luck is going to change for us for sure because we are doing good things.

"I have never seen one team who is creating more chances than the opponent and doesn't win, so if we can keep playing the way we can then we will get the results.

"To be honest, I don't want to see the table. I just want to think Tottenham and then try to win, then we have Crystal Palace, West Brom, Sunderland.

"We want to go on a winning run because we are behind fourth place and if we stay there we will not be so happy."

Should Mauricio Pochettino lead a side to victory at Old Trafford for the first time, then United would be a remarkable nine points off fifth after just 15 matches.

It is a situation Herrera is not even contemplating, although he is well aware that United's misfiring attack face a tough battle against the Premier League's most miserly defence.

No team has conceded fewer than Spurs and United's league goal haul is a paltry 19, less than the likes of Crystal Palace and West Brom.

"No, to be honest," Herrera said, when asked if he knew why they are struggling to score.

"I usually speak with David (de Gea) and Juan about this situation and I don't know the stats, but for sure we are creating more chances than last season and we are conceding less chances but we are worse off in the table. I cannot believe it.

"Football is like this but if we carry on like this, then our luck will change for sure.

"We have very good players. The most difficult thing in football is to create chances.

"We just need to keep doing what we have been doing and for sure time will be better for us."

Mourinho called for his attacking players to score more goals in the build-up to Sunday's match, with Anthony Martial and captain Wayne Rooney having only supplied one league goal each.

Marcus Rashford has mustered three but struggled to recapture his form from the first half of 2016, failing to score any in all competitions since September 24.

"We have to be patient with Marcus," Herrera said. "He is maybe the best talent under 20 years old in the world so he is giving us a lot.

"But we can't ask him to score in every game and do what he did in his first season when he did what he did in his first five matches I think - something like that.

"Now he is playing left so we have to be patient with him.

"He gives us a lot of things and the most important thing for me is his defence, the way he reacts when we don't have the ball so we are very happy with him.

"We have talented players up front so we are very happy with that - Anthony, Marcus, Micki (Henrikh Mkhitaryan) is in a very good moment, Juan is always scoring and creating and assisting.

"We are very good in those positions so we will find the goals."

Herrera will also be hoping he finds himself out of Tottenham's Eric Dier's bad books on Sunday.

The 22-year-old accused the United midfielder of elbowing him in the face during England's 2-2 draw with Spain last month.

Dier said he did not need Herrera to apologise as he would "see him soon" at Old Trafford - a subject given short shrift by the Spaniard.

"I speak only about the football," he said. "I only speak about the football."

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