Sunday 22 September 2019

Paul Scholes: Man United would get psychological boost from a big away win

Paul Scholes believes Manchester United's title challenge would be boosted by away wins against their rivals
Paul Scholes believes Manchester United's title challenge would be boosted by away wins against their rivals

Paul Scholes believes Manchester United should push to beat their title rivals away from home to give themselves a psychological advantage.

Jose Mourinho was criticised for United's defensive performance against Liverpool at Anfield last weekend, with the game ending 0-0.

Scholes told Press Association Sport: "I think what United have to do is try to find a way to win these big games, especially away from home.

"OK you don't have to win them, you can go to those places and beat them at home, but I think psychologically it's a big boost when you can go to a Man City, go to a Liverpool, go to a Tottenham and win there."

The draw saw United slip two points behind free-scoring Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

But they are still in a very strong position, with Tottenham three points behind and expected title challengers Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal all seven points adrift of United.

After a dearth of success in the league since the end of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign four years ago, Scholes sees little room for complaint.

The former midfielder said: "It's very difficult to criticise what they've done. OK they haven't played the greatest brand of football but they're second in the league, they've drawn two games and won every other one, they're top of the Champions League group, they've won their League Cup game.

"You can't moan at this minute, it's all going to plan. Whatever way, if United can win the league, I don't think too many United fans would be that bothered. It's been three or four years without even challenging for it."

Scholes believes the return of Paul Pogba from a hamstring injury will provide a natural boost to United's attacking play.

The Frenchman is close to full fitness after more than a month on the sidelines.

"He gives you that balance in midfield," said Scholes. "(Nemanja) Matic and (Ander) Herrera (against Benfica) last night, they're two very similar players, you have to question do you need both.

"If Pogba's fit he comes in and he can do the defensive side and the attacking side better than both of them. He's a big miss and hopefully he'll be back soon and the attacking play can improve."

There have been rave reviews for Pep Guardiola's City in contrast to Mourinho's United, with the league leaders having netted 29 goals in eight games.

But Scholes is not convinced by City at the other end of the pitch and feels it is far too early to assume the title race will be a straight fight between the Manchester clubs.

He said: "I think there's so many good teams. City had a great start last year, this time last year we thought they'd run away with it and defensively they struggled after that.

"Will the same happen again? They've not really done anything different with the centre-halves, we'll have to see how they cope."

Scholes was speaking at the renaming of Salford City's ground.

Moor Lane has become the Peninsula Stadium, with Ferguson unveiling a plaque at an event attended by Scholes and his fellow Class of 92 co-owners.

Scholes said: " It's a massive day. It's a club we're fully involved in. We want to give young players especially a chance, the same chances we were given. We just look forward to the future and hopefully providing a Football League club for the people of Salford."

PA Media

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