Good Or Bad Time To Play Mancs?

Last updated : 17 February 2022 By Footy Mad - Editor

Newcastle play Manchester United at Old Trafford (17:30) on Boxing Day, and following their 2-0 shock defeat to Watford at the weekend, it could be a good time to face them. But then again ...

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accused his Manchester United players of treating their game at Watford as a testimonial after they slipped to a shock defeat against the Premier League's bottom side.

A David De Gea howler allowed Ismaila Sarr to open the scoring before Troy Deeney's penalty four minutes later secured a 2-0 victory and a first home win of the season for the Hornets.

United were poor for much of the contest but improved slightly following the introduction of Paul Pogba, who came off the bench to make his first appearance since September following an ankle injury.

The Red Devils have struggled against teams in the bottom half of the table this season and have won just one of the last 17 games in which they have enjoyed a larger portion of possession.

Solskjaer's side will sit eighth in the table on Christmas Day as hopes of a top-four finish continue to dwindle, and the Norwegian pulled no punches in assessing United's performance at Vicarage Road.

But if Newcastle beat them, the Magpies will move above them in the table.

"The first half it could easily have been my testimonial," he said.

"And it might have been a better atmosphere at my testimonial, to be fair. It was very subdued, slow, no tempo, urgency.

"Any bit of encouragement their crowd got was when we gave them set-plays. And we gave them two goals in the second half.

"Today is not about the amount of possession - it's about quality, how we do things and the two goals we conceded.

"The first one, a big goal, was from a mistake. The second goal as well, it's a bad mistake making a tackle. So two goals in three minutes made it hard for us."

Recent victories over Tottenham and Manchester City had suggested United had started to turn a corner under Solskjaer.

But a home draw to Everton was followed by this dismal display in Hertfordshire after the team coach arrived less than an hour before kick-off.

"I'm very disappointed," Solskjaer added.

"We have started off something with the rebuild but today I am very disappointed because you have to come to these stadiums and get more points against teams like today.

"I am sure they were low in confidence because they are at the bottom of the table. We are high in confidence but it just wasn't there. There was no intent or urgency to make us win the game.

"We prepared well. There is nothing I can put my finger on. You can't blame the traffic. We were a little bit late but an hour here should be enough to prepare."