Irwin: We need to concentrate on ourselves

Friday 13 January 2023 06:59

Manchester United go into Saturday’s Premier League clash with local rivals Manchester City on the back of an eight-match winning streak, in all competitions.

The Reds are in fine form at the moment, embodied by the performances of striker Marcus Rashford, who netted a brace against Charlton Athletic in our Carabao Cup quarter-final on Tuesday (10 January).

Ahead of the derby, club legend Denis Irwin spoke to club media about our prospects, with City having won each of the last three meetings between the sides.

Despite the threat of Pep Guardiola’s side, Irwin believes it is far more important for the Reds to concentrate on our own performances and the way Erik ten Hag wants us to play.

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“I think you always have to be aware of other teams assets,” he said. “What they’re good at, what they’re capable of, which is quite a lot in City’s terms, and what their vulnerabilities are.

“So you always have to be wary, whether you’re playing Manchester City or a team in the league, you’ve got to be aware of what they’re good at.

“But essentially, I think you concentrate on yourselves. How you can win the game, what you can do to win the game.

“I don’t think Manchester United will ever be at the stage where we just want to cancel a team out. We will come here, at Old Trafford, [and] we want to make it a difficult place to come, and I wouldn’t say the onus is on us to go and attack but the manager will want us to attack and to counter-attack and have a bit of pace about ourselves. [He will want] a bit of quick passing so that we can threaten City.”

The Reds will be wanting to right the wrongs of earlier in the season, when we were defeated 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium.

Despite this result, Denis believes United are better placed now, especially given the recent form.

“There’s a lot of big games coming up, but we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves,” he explained. “But we are a better team than when we faced City three months ago. I think certainly defensively we are better.

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“We are looking a lot more solid and the manager is getting to know the Premier League and on the back of that I think we will get better and better as the season progresses.

“I think we’ve seen already from the first month to the second month to the third month to where we are now, I think we are a much better team, a much better squad. The players know what the manager wants. The manager now knows what the players can produce so I do think we are a better team than in October.

“Listen, City can always hurt you, we know that they are an excellent side. But we are more than capable of competing.”