Given the nature of United’s season so far – a hot start followed by a number of mediocre results to say the least – has left United fans somewhat bemused as to what they can expect from the team to actually accomplish this season. Some believe a title challenge is still within reach whereas more pessimistic views suggest a domestic cup win and Qualification for the Champions League are more realistic goals for the Red-Devils. Either way is is important to back the manager and give him time and be patient. Naturally this is tough to do given the massive transfer outlay but things take time to build and the upcoming match against Arsenal is huge but we have Jose’s almost flawless record vs Arsenal in our favour.
After the recent run of poor results for United like the Europa League loss to Fenerbahnce, the draw with Burnley, the 4-0 defeat at the hands of the bosses’ old club Chelsea as well as disppointing ties to Liverpool and Stoke City, the club needed a win badly in the Premier League last time out vs Swansea City. Fortunately, the Red-Devils were able to deliver with a solid 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium in South Wales.
Ander Herrera is one of the few players who has performed consistently for his team this campaign and has endeared himself to new manager Jose Mourinho often finding himself as one of the first names on the team sheet. His displays for United have not gone unnoticed as he has also been recognised by his national team, as the midfielder has seen himself not only called up to the full national squad but has also made his full international debut for Spain in the 2-2 friendly draw which Spain played out with hosts England at Wembley on Tuesday night in an international friendly. A game which England lead until the latter stages 2-0 thanks to goals from Adam Lallana and Jamie Vardy was ultimately tied up in the 95th minute by Isco in the 6th minute of extra time after Iago Aspas had cut the deficit to 1 goal on 89 minutes.
Herrera knows that there is a great deal of talent at United and has dismissed the rumoured unrest in the dressing room at Old Trafford and as reported by the Daily Mail, he had this to say about his fellow players like Marcus Rashford:
‘People have to be aware that he is 19 years old. We can’t be asking him to score 40 goals. We have to be patient. There will bad times but there will be more good times because he is so good.
‘And he is a humble kid who knows how tough it is to make it and is very respectful to players who have been at the club for longer.’
Herrera went on to talk about the legendary Ibrahimovic saying:
‘He’s an interesting guy, he’s obviously world-class but he’s joking and winding people up all day and he accepts that you do it with him too, which is important.
‘And then you see the type of professional he is. He’s 35 and look at him. He’s like a 28-year-old. There are no miracles when it comes to conditioning, if you are like that at 35 it is because of the way you look after yourself. He eats well, he stretches right every day. He does his recuperation.
‘And then there’s the control out on the pitch — you give him a melon of a ball, and he makes it look like a brilliant pass.’
As the big-name quality stars continue to join United’s squad you would think it would dishearten Herrera but it is seemingly doing the opposite as the Spaniard went on to say about big money signing Paul Pogba,
‘He scores you 10 goals a season and that’s not easy to find in a midfielder. With the strength he has, the way he hits the ball so well with both feet and how good he is in the air, you have to make the most of that. Whenever I play alongside him I know that I have to be the one who plays deeper.’
‘We are still there and we should have more points than we have. We deserved to win the Stoke game at home and the Burnley game was incredible — to have 37 shots on goal and the other team have one and we don’t win the game.
‘I spoke to Juan (Mata) afterwards and we had never known anything like it. I remember on 55 minutes thinking, “It’s impossible that we don’t win this game”.
Normally this happens once a season but it’s already happened twice because Stoke City was the same.’
You would think that frustrating performances and results like those from the Stoke and Burnley games would be killing Herrera et al’s confidence but according to the Spaniard it is not doing that as he says,
‘No, the opposite, we are doing the difficult part, which is getting shots on goal and creating opportunities. At the moment the ball is hitting the post and going wide but it will turn and the ball will be hitting the post and going in.
Herrera went on to say:
‘We want to win the Europa League. We have to defend our title in the FA Cup and we have knocked (Manchester) City out of the League Cup. And in the league the thing is that (in the 2011-12 season) we gained eight points on City towards the end and then lost eight points on them and lost the league on the final weekend with the same number of points.’
This shows that Herrera is a serious United player who is well aware of the record of the club in recent times and clearly knows what United need to do to move forward and get back to challenging for top honours. Herrera offered the followed comments which shows he is well on top of the analysis of all of United’s games and shows he has the aptitude and analytical skills to one day be a manager:
‘In many games we have ended up having more possession than the opposition. Apart from the Liverpool game when they had more. Even the Chelsea game I think the possession until the last 10 or 15 minutes, when the game was dead, was ours. And OK, against Chelsea we deserved to lose but not 4-0.’
While such possession stats are unlikely to make Mourinho a happy man, Herrera says they debunk the idea that Mourinho is a defensive coach, as the midfielder said ‘Mourinho is an attacking coach. What he is not is a kamikaze coach, he doesn’t have us playing like crazy men,’
‘There are games when it makes sense to defend more and wait for your chances. Against Liverpool we were facing a free-scoring team. To limit them to just two chances from outside the area all game is worthy of merit.
‘There are games when you have to close the door and keep it shut. Then there are other days when it is you who have to attack and make those 10 or 15 opportunities.’
So Ander Herrera is definitely a committed Red-Devil who certainly deserves the continued backing of his manager and should be selected for the important upcoming fixtures especially the next key game, home against Arsene Wenger’s high-flying Arsenal outfit this Saturday lunchtime in the Barclays Premier League.
Ander Herrera is clearly very proud to be a Manchester United player. It truly is heartening to see a player wearing his heart on his sleeve in such a committed and respectful manner. He is setting a fine example along with the likes of the super solid Juan Mata in showing what it should mean to play for the most storied football club in the world.