There’s several things that worry me about our game against United but top of that list has to be our defending lately. From a side known previously for being defensively tighter than a Scot’s wallet, whilst we’re not exactly conceding shedloads, it’s fair to say more recently we’ve made mistakes that even schoolboys would get barracked for.
Our defence of set-pieces has often been Sunday-league style at best and as if the game against Fulham wasn’t a lesson enough, then to repeat the conceding of a late goal against Southend just defied belief. More than that though, to do it from a position of domination in both games and end up firstly dropping two points to Fulham and secondly, setting ourselves up with a replay against a side we really should have seen off at home once we were a goal up, just isn’t good enough.
So, now we’re in a position where we’ve dropped 3 points behind Liverpool and we have to face United tomorrow, who could see themselves just a point behind us with a couples of games in hand if they win, and we’ve got basic defensive errors to blame for it. That’s not excusing the fact that we lack clinical finishing up front as well, but the point is, in both those game at least, we were in the position to win and blew it.
We simply won’t get away with that against United. Not that our players think we will either, because as Frank Lampard says “The errors have been very frustrating for everyone involved because we do work on them in training anyway. Sometimes it has been an individual error or a collective one, but it has been very important because we have dominated the last two games and we lost out on a set piece in the final minute each time. We can’t afford to let that happen against a team of Manchester United’s calibre.”
Let’s just hope the extra training Scolari has made the lads do on set pieces this week has sunk in then!