Evans checks the balance
Jonny Evans admitted Manchester United lost some attacking prowess in the process of winning to nil on a “nervy” night against West Ham United.
He was part of a defensive unit rightly praised by Sir Alex Ferguson after the Reds stopped the opposition from scoring for only the third time in this season’s 14 league matches so far. But Evans accepted that a more cautious approach from the team as a whole also contributed to the shut-out, probably at the expense of a spectacle.
“We didn’t play well,” he admitted on MUTV. “The game was a bit slow and laboured. It was fortunate that we got the goal early doors but we didn’t really kick on from that. It was a bit nervy towards the end in some instances – you know what you’re going to get with West Ham, they’re going to put the ball in the box at every opportunity.
“The lads did well, not conceding too many fouls which is important. We don’t want them putting free-kicks in the box to put you under pressure and push you back. The two big lads up front, Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole, are hard to deal with. They’re never really going to run away from you but you have to be prepared to stick your head in when it hurts. We’re happy we managed to keep a clean sheet.
“The clean sheet is good for the confidence, even if we didn’t play in the normal United way,” he added. “We probably were a bit more cautious going forward and holding our positions a bit more. I think it’s up to us to find the right balance and decide when it’s the right time to go forward and the right time to hold your position and defend. I think once we get that sorted, we’ll be okay.”
Evans felt like many fans may have done when Robin van Persie got the Reds off to a flyer, but the floodgates failed to open.
“I was thinking at the time ‘this is great, we’ve got a goal early doors and we can score a lot here’ because everybody is looking at the goal difference especially after what happened last season,” he continued.
“I think we all know we didn’t play to our usual standards. We’d had a tough game at the weekend or at least we made it tough for ourselves. It was quite a physical game, a lot of running was done and it was probably one of our highest running stats of the season. So there were some tired legs in the squad and I think it was all about seeing it out to get the three points.”