United Briefing: McTominay set for Reds century
Scott McTominay acknowledges Manchester United cannot keep conceding the first goal in games, but says that is not always an indicator of poor performance.
The Scotland international will bring up a century of games for the Reds if he features in Thursday’s visit to Sheffield United, with United chasing a landmark of our own.
If we get the better of the Blades at Bramall Lane, we’ll become only the fourth English top-flight team ever to win 10 consecutive away games, following Tottenham in the 1960s, plus Chelsea and Manchester City, who share the all-time Premier League record of 11 victories in a row.
The last five of our successes on the road have all had to be earned the hard way, with United conceding first-half openers to Brighton, Newcastle, Everton, Southampton and West Ham before roaring back, often with a comprehensive second-half showing.
Scott insists that, although Leipzig last week was a clear exception, falling behind can often come against the run of play and the players' belief in themselves - and the gameplan - is more important.
“The [away] record’s brilliant. As I say, we’ve spoke about it as a group. We can’t keep falling behind in games and as you see in Leipzig, you can just give yourself too much to do,” McTominay says. “That was something we have to forget about quickly.
Nine straight away winsCollection
Watch the highlights from every game of our record-breaking run on the road.
“That’s the good thing about football, it moves on so quickly, but you can still tell that everyone is wanting to get back to that stage where we need to prove we should be really competing this year. We know that and we’ve had multiple chats as a group.
“We have been playing well and people might think because you go a goal down, you’re not playing well.
“We’ve started some games poorly, but some we’ve started really well and still gone a goal down. Don’t take it as if you go 1-0 down, you’re playing badly. I feel like people jump to that conclusion straightaway.
“As I say, [at] Everton we controlled the whole game, from minute one to minute 90, but people see you’ve gone a goal down so they think you’re playing badly. As long as we know as a group what we’re doing well and when we need a kick up the bum, we’re on the right track.”
Thursday should be a special night for Scott personally, as he seeks to become the 216th player to have appeared for the Reds in 100 competitive games.
The 24-year-old, who made his United debut in May 2017, admits that the ton could have been wrapped up quicker, but for injuries – one of which kept him out of the 3-3 thriller between the Blades and the Reds in November 2019.
“Yeah, the time’s gone quick, you know? Obviously you get to that landmark a little bit quicker without injuries,” he adds. “I was out for three months with my knee and eight weeks with my ankle [last season] so that delays the time for getting appearances.
“I was injured at the time [of the 3-3]. It’s a team where people say they need their fans: every team needs their fans, but Sheffield United’s support is amazing.
“One of my friends is a Sheffield United fan and he speaks to me regularly about the passion and the love for the football club. Obviously for them, the fans are a big miss and everything that goes on with the fans on a matchday is a big miss, but Sheffield United are a very, very good team and they’ve had some really difficult results.
“It’s a game we have to respect and we can’t take our foot off the gas because they’ve had a difficult start to a different, challenging Premier League season. They’ll be coming at us at 100 miles an hour, and we have to be ready.”
WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will appear in front of the media to take questions about our forthcoming game with Sheffield United.
Will Edinson Cavani be fit to feature? Is the squad going to be rotated ahead of a busy period? The Norwegian will hopefully have the answers to these and more when the press conference begins at 13:30 GMT - you can keep up to date with it, as usual, on ManUtd.com and in our Official App.
Elsewhere, the UK government is expected to review the regional COVID-19 tiers at some point on Wednesday. Manchester, and Old Trafford, is currently in Tier 3 and needs to drop down to Tier 2 to be able to welcome supporters back to games for the first time since March.
This evening, Casey Stoney's in-form United Women will face Everton at 19:00 GMT and the match will be broadcast live on MUTV.
WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?
The Premier League fixtures for January 2021 were confirmed by the Premier League, with United in action five times during the month, including the big one: a trip to Anfield to take on Liverpool.
There was news of a Reds legend being recognised in an all-time XI, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacted to Monday's Europa League draw, which pitted us against Spanish league leaders Real Sociedad.
Finally, we published some ace training images ahead of us being back in action.