Wednesday 18 October 2017

'We have not been good enough' admits Jonny Evans

Defender admits United haven't been playing attractive game

Paul Hirst

Jonny Evans admits Manchester United have failed to produce the kind of attractive football their fans have become accustomed to this season.

United sit third in the English Premier League and are in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup after a sequence of just one defeat in 19 matches.

Yet despite that run, United manager Louis van Gaal has come in for criticism in recent weeks.

Sam Allardyce branded Van Gaal's team "Long-ball United", Paul Scholes said his former club had often played "miserable" football this season and fans at Old Trafford recently whistled at their own team.

The United supporters have been spoiled after watching over two decades of largely enterprising football under Alex Ferguson, and Evans understands why criticism has been directed at the team this year.

When asked whether he had been surprised by the criticism United had received, the defender said: "No. I think as players we know that we could perform better.

"I think the manager wants us to play more attractive football."

There was little sign of improvement on Monday night when United had to come from behind to beat League One Preston 3-1 at Deepdale.

Van Gaal's team did not have a shot on target until the second half and they only kicked into life when Van Gaal replaced Radamel Falcao with Ashley Young and altered the formation to a regular 4-4-2.

improving

Evans believes the team is improving though.

"I think we are seeing progress," the Northern Irishman said.

"You can see that with the performances.

"At the start of season we were not playing well and we were not getting results but the manager has got us organised and everyone knows their jobs.

"I think once we get that cemented then we can go and start entertaining again.

"Once we get the ball down, show our composure, I think the football will be attractive."

United sealed a quarter-final clash against Arsenal thanks to goals from Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney, who converted a controversial 88th minute penalty.

Debate has raged in certain quarters about the incident since.

Matt Le Tissier said Rooney had "conned" the referee into awarding a penalty by tumbling to the ground after jumping over Thorsten Stuckmann while Stan Collymore branded the player a "cheat".

The issue did not appear to be playing on Rooney's mind at all yesterday when he took part in the launch of an online poker game at Old Trafford.

Evans, who was also at the stadium for the launch, thinks United were more deadly at Deepdale when Angel Di Maria was moved out on to the wing from central midfield in the second half.

struggled

"When Angel was out in the wide position it allowed him to run at the full-back a bit more," said Evans of Di Maria, who has struggled since his £59.7million move from Real Madrid.

"He has come from a different environment at Real Madrid in a different league to work under a new manager here.

"He has a different system he wants us to play so it will always take time.

"I think he has been fantastic. We know how much of a danger he is.

"We have seen him in training and we are hoping he can produce that on the pitch as well."

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