Fulham defender Dan Burn has admitted he hasn’t had to defend as many headers in a single game like he did yesterday since playing for Darlington in the Conference.
As far as comments about United’s tactics go, that hard-hitting statement hits home because he’s right. United’s reliance on wing play, a polite description of spraying it wide to launch it aimlessly into the box, is as simple as football gets. It is what a team reverts to when there is no chance of playing intricate football to feet and United’s football is so bad right now, we’re looking more like a relegation candidate than a top four contender.
“I was just saying to the lads that I’ve never headed that many balls since I played in the Conference!” he told The Independent.
“I’m happy for them [United] to play like that. We knew that we were going to defend our box well. We were going to keep our back four quite narrow so that we were between the goal and the wingers were going to look after the wide men.
“We’ve been working on that in training. I thought it worked well. They’ve had plenty of crosses, loads of chances and stuff but the second goal was quite lucky. I always felt we had something left.
”We’re at the stage now where if it’s going to go to goal difference [we’ll go down]. We knew when we went 2-1 down we had to keep pressing them and we didn’t give them time on the ball and it helped us to get chances.”
Burn’s comment should be a reality check for David Moyes because he’s correct. Sure, on another day United might have scored more goals with the amount of opportunities we created yesterday, but the sheer fact we almost ignore the concept of playing football through the middle is startling.
Something has to change. Moyes has to stop being stubborn. Playing the crossing game doesn’t play to the strengths of this United side at all and the sooner Moyes realises that, the greater chance United have of salvaging something good from this season. If he doesn’t, yesterday will not be as bad as it gets by a long way.