Belfast Telegraph

Bastian calls for Manchester United to show a ruthless edge

Man United 0-0 West Ham

By Paul Hirst

Bastian Schweinsteiger says Manchester United must forget talk of a title challenge unless they rediscover their killer instinct in front of goal.

United dropped to fourth in the Premier League on Saturday after recording their sixth 0-0 draw this season, re-enforcing critics' views that the side are 'boring'.

Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Marouane Fellaini and Schweinsteiger squandered good opportunities to record a much-needed win.

United missed the chance to go top last weekend when they drew at Leicester and now they are three points behind Claudio Ranieri's side.

Schweinsteiger believes United's poor finishing is costing them dearly.

"In every game we create chances but haven't scored. When that is the case it is not easy to win matches," the United midfielder said.

"The guy who has the opportunity has to feel that they want to score a goal and are going to score.

"If you miss a chance you have to be unhappy. When you are a big striker like (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Lionel) Messi and Thomas Muller (it is) the same. It is about attitude. They want to score. They have quality but they want to score. You need the attitude to score.

"We need to have more of that feeling. We are trying but we need a goal, otherwise you cannot talk about winning a trophy because we should be winning at home to West Ham.

"Players are not scared in front of goal. It is all about the killer instinct. We have players who have the abilities but we need it in every game."

That killer instinct must return by the time United take to the field in Wolfsburg tomorrow night, otherwise they are likely to exit the Champions League.

Only victory will guarantee United's progress to the last 16, but Louis van Gaal is not worried about another no-show from his forwards

"A lot of players have missed chances against West Ham," the United manager - who is reportedly set to be offered a new deal - said. "We can make a big issue of it but I don't believe we have to.

"I have great confidence that we shall score at Wolfsburg."

The United board expected Van Gaal to lead his team through their group untroubled.

But after drawing 0-0 at home to PSV Eindhoven last month, there is a real danger United will drop into the Europa League, which will deal a big blow to the club's credibility and that of their manager too.

"We don't want to be eliminated," Van Gaal added. "But in sport it is always possible. You can't win every year or every game. It's not like that.

"It's a very important game for us at this moment because of the situation. We are not scoring from many chances and we have to score at Wolfsburg.

"We could be out. And that is bad for everybody, for the club, for the players and for the manager."

United, already without Wayne Rooney, Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Phil Jones, look like taking a depleted squad to Wolfsburg.

Northern Ireland international Paddy McNair and Morgan Schneiderlin were both substituted against the Hammers and may now miss the match in Germany.

"Paddy McNair has an ankle problem and Schneiderlin is a little bit stiff in the hip, so we have to wait and see," Van Gaal said. "I hope they can play on Tuesday but it is a very short (turnaround) so it is a very big question mark."

Schweinsteiger, meanwhile, could face retrospective punishment from the Football Association for an off-the-ball elbow on Winston Reid on Saturday.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said: "It was a clear red card, a straight red without any doubt.

"I can't blame the referee (Mark Clattenburg) because he didn't see it. It happens.

"I can't blame the officials, no matter how disappointed we are."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph