Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Evans Warns Dozy United to Wake Up for Blues Clashes

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Evans Warns Dozy United to Wake Up for Blues Clashes

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Tongue

MAN UNITED 3 BRAGA 2 MANCHESTER UNITED will field two very different teams in their Premier League and Capital One Cup visits to Stamford Bridge over the next week and Chelsea can only hope that either or both of them are as generous defensively as in an erratic first dozen matches of the season.

Only three times so far have United managed to keep a clean sheet and in no fewer than eight games they have conceded the first goal.

Last night's start against Braga was the worst yet, the Portuguese visitors taking advantage of some wretched defending to poach a 2-0 lead in the first 20 minutes.

Only then did United start to produce some of the club's traditional attacking flair to secure a 3-2 victory and virtually ensure qualification for the knockout stage of the Champions League with a third successive win.

All three have been by a single goal and players and manager alike were forced to admit that they cannot continue to allow such sloppy starts. "It's happened quite a lot and is becoming a bit of a habit," said Jonny Evans, scorer of the equaliser in between Javier Hernandez's two goals.

"We need to get a better start in the future, especially at Chelsea on Sunday. It's going to be tough away games down there, they always are. I don't think our record [at Stamford Bridge] has been great over the past few seasons. We have to go down there and make sure we put on a good away performance as we did at Newcastle.

"But it's poor from us as a team, just the basics like letting teams get crosses in so easily. Simple things like not talking to each other will cost us against the better teams."

Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra will return on either side of Evans to talk the talk in Sunday's game after Sir Alex Ferguson gambled on resting them last night and playing Michael Carrick and the new Dutch left-back Alexander Buttner in defence. …

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