Football

Pogba’s not taking things seriously, Sanchez starting on reputation

Pundits Neville and Carragher slam United stars after 3-2 win over Palace

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher slammed Manchester United stars Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez after the Red Devils' last-gasp 3-2 English Premier League win over Crystal Palace yesterday morning (Singapore time), likening their performances to two individualistic kids in the schoolyard.

United rode their luck to come back from two goals down to win 3-2 after a Nemanja Matic stunner from outside the penalty box in the first minute of added time.

Despite not winning any of their last five matches before yesterday, Palace were two goals up after 48 minutes via a deflected Andros Townsend shot and quickly taken free-kick that set Patrick van Aanholt free to beat David de Gea at his near post.

Roy Hodgson's men looked good value for their first league win over United since 1991 but second-half goals by Chris Smalling (55th minute) and Romelu Lukaku (76th) set up Matic's late heroics at Selhurst Park.

Not that EPL pundits Neville and Carragher were impressed.

Former United stalwart Neville described Pogba's performance on Sky Sports by saying: "(It's) like he's playing on the park with his mates and it's like everything he does is like a YouTube or an Instagram video.

"It's like it's not serious, it's like a joke to him in terms of the way in which he goes about things... It's no wonder Jose Mourinho has left him out in the last few weeks."

Ex-Liverpool defender Carragher agreed with that assessment but opined that Sanchez had an even poorer game than Pogba, suggesting the Chilean's place in the starting XI is largely based on reputation.

He told Sky Sports: "You've mentioned Pogba but I think Sanchez has been worse...

"If he wasn't Alexis Sanchez, what he's done in the past, would he leave him out?

"He lost the ball 34-35 times - it's astonishing for a player of that quality. If that was (Marcus) Rashford, he'd have no chance of playing at the weekend.

Summing up the pair's performance, the former England man said: "It's like him and Pogba are like two kids in the schoolyard - 'We're the best players, we'll go wherever we want.'"

The severeness of Carragher's critique was matched only by the clairvoyance of his mid-game prediction, when he tweeted: "2-0 Palace, still fancy Man Utd to win 3-2."

UNITED COMEBACK

Palace's players, however, did not expect a United comeback.

Forward Alexander Sorloth told the BBC: "We should have had the three points today...

"We were creating a lot of chances against a top team, and we could have scored three or four goals. Hopefully we'll be better defensively against Chelsea (on Sunday)."

His teammate Townsend, meanwhile, said Palace were undone by two moments of world-class skill.

He told Sky Sports: "Maybe we should have shut up shop at 2-1. We were still going strong in the last 10 minutes.

"David de Gea pulled off a world-class save and then one of their players pulls off a world-class strike at the other end."

Former Manchester City and England fullback Danny Mills seemed to agree that maybe Palace should have tweaked their approach after going 2-0 up, saying on the BBC: "Hodgson must be absolutely devastated. His tactics were absolutely perfect until about the 48th minute.

"Palace started to get nervy and sat deeper and deeper."

Despite a fortuitous win, match-winner Matic insists United are "improving" and will go into Saturday's epic clash with Liverpool with confidence.

He told Sky Sports: "It's going to give us a lot of confidence because, when you win the game, it's always easier to go into the next one... I'm happy that we go into the Liverpool game with these three points."

It's a sentiment shared by fellow goalscorer Smalling, who told MUTV that the result means the Red Devils will welcome Liverpool "to Old Trafford with smiles".

Football