Goodison is not an easy ground for anyone to visit. You have to earn the right to play there and Everton were all over us in the opening exchanges. Nice as it was to defeat Newcastle and West Ham, this was always going to be an entirely different test.
It is with great pride that I say I was completely wrong when I predicted Nani and Berbatov would return to their familiar inconsistent form. Indeed, for the first sixty minutes the match largely belonged to the young Michael Jackson lookalike. He whipped in several Beckham-esque crosses and had a huge hand in the first two goals. His only adversary for man of the match at that point was Tim Howard, whose saves had kept Everton in it.
But still in it they were, and even when Berbatov produced a nonchalant finish of exquisite skill they still didn’t give up. I am inclined to give Everton huge credit for their comeback. They worked hard and they deserved it. However, as Manchester United correspondent it would be remiss of me if I did not focus on our team’s performance.
United defending in injury time
We definitely blew it, and not for the first time this season we have dropped points for not being ruthless enough. It would be easy to take out the pointy finger of blame and direct it at Gary Neville and Patrice Evra for shoddy defending at the death. But quite frankly, if you are two goals up with 90 seconds to go, the entire team should know to close down the opposition and play out the game.
We didn’t do that and my suspicion is a lack of leadership is to blame. Gary Neville won’t like me saying this, but I think Rio marshals the back five better and his return cannot come soon enough for me.
Much of the talk at kick off was about 'you know who'. It seems dictionary.com did my work for me on Saturday and their word of the day was as follows (please pay careful attention to the pronunciation):
Rue [roo] verb, rued, ru·ing, noun
–verb (used with object)
1. to feel sorrow over; repent of; regret bitterly: to rue the loss of opportunities.
2. to wish that (something) had never been done, taken place, etc.: I rue the day he was born.
Another rumour from the terrace is that this whole affair has destroyed Rooney’s hopes for claiming the captaincy in a couple of year’s time. That is a worry for another day, what concerns me now is that if we don’t start winning winnable matches - the league will be over by Christmas.
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