Thursday 13 December 2018

Manchester United accused of 'going missing' by Newcastle's Jamaal Lascelles following surprise defeat

Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez
Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez

Luke Edwards

Manchester United’s players have been accused of “going missing” in their shock defeat to Newcastle United as concern grows over Paul Pogba’s lack of form.

Although most of the negative attention after the game fell on Pogba, because he was replaced midway through the second half following another ineffective display, he was not the only one to under-perform as Newcastle secured a precious victory.

Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, was relatively sanguine after the defeat, mainly because he is always reminded of lessons learned under his former mentor Bobby Robson when he arrives at his former home stadium, but it was a disappointing performance from his team.

And Newcastle’s captain, Jamaal Lascelles, has admitted that they were surprised to see so many famous names fail to fire on Tyneside.

“They have got some great players but I don’t think [Manchester] United turned up,” said Lascelles, whose leadership skills included helping a Newcastle fan, who briefly invaded the pitch in his excitement after the final whistle, made it back into the stand without punishment.

“We have played against Arsenal and Man City and you can really see the quality and one mistake or a lack of concentration and a goal will go in.

“On Sunday, I don’t think they were at it from the start of the game - a lot of their players went missing.”

Lascelles, though, also stressed that it was the quality of Newcastle’s performance and the intensity with which they approached the game, that made their opponents wilt.

He added: “It was probably the way we were playing, we made them play like that. In the first-half they were making a lot of mistakes, passing the ball around but it was down to our pressing.

“We were aggressive and they didn’t like it. You could see their centre-halves on the ball and they didn’t really know what to do with it.

“We set up really well and we matched up really well against them. The manager [Rafa Benitez] got it spot on.”

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