Manchester United correspondent Jamie Jackson has pinned the blame on the ‘ponderous’ Nemanja Matic for Everton’s goal in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat.
United suffered a shock loss against the relegation-threatened Toffees following Anthony Gordon’s 27th-minute strike.
The result leaves them three points behind fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur, having played a game more than Antonio Conte’s side.
Ralf Rangnick elected to restore Matic to the starting line-up after naming him amongst the substitutes last time out against Leicester City.
The manager paired the 33-year-old Serbian with Fred in his two-man midfield.
But Matic was dispossessed by Everton midfielder Allan in the attacking half, and The Toffees proceeded to launch the attack that led to Gordon’s goal.
Jackson, who covers United for The Guardian, felt Matic had been punished for dwelling on the ball.
“All from Matic, more ponderous than a pond,” he tweeted after the goal.
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It was a difficult 65 minutes for Matic at Goodison Park before Juan Mata replaced him.
He lost three of the four ground duels he contested and also conceded possession 14 times overall (via SofaScore).
Of all the United players on the pitch, only Marcus Rashford (seven) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (four) came off second best in more ground duels than the midfielder.
You could argue, however, that he wasn’t solely to blame the goal that Everton scored.
Indeed, The Athletic’s Adam Crafton suggested that Harry Maguire’s attempt to block the shot was ‘really bad’, with the ball cannoning off the Englishman and beyond David de Gea.
In other news, Fabrizio Romano has dropped this manager insight.
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