Manchester United must “rise above” their critics as they look to end a tough week on a high against AFC Bournemouth, according to Jesse Lingard.
Louis van Gaal’s side were held to a 0-0 draw by West Ham United last Saturday – their fifth such result in 10 matches – before being dumped out of the Champions League on Tuesday after a 3-2 defeat away to Wolfsburg.
Former Old Trafford favourites Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Rio Ferdinand are among those to have slammed United’s performances and commitment in recent matches, while Van Gaal’s style of management has also come under intense scrutiny.
Lingard, however, says the dressing room must remain positive as they look for a win which will take them level on points with Premier League leaders Leicester City prior to the Foxes’ home clash with Chelsea on Monday.
“Playing for Manchester United comes with a lot of pressure,” he told Viasat Sport.
“If you’re out of a competition, you’re going to get critics, they’re going to start saying stuff. We’ve got to rise above that as a team, move on and concentrate on the next game.
“We just need to stay positive. We’re creating a lot of chances, we’re just lacking that end product. But we’re working on it and hopefully that will come in the next game.”
Bournemouth grabbed their first win in 10 league games with a 1-0 victory away to champions Chelsea last Saturday – a result which manager Eddie Howe described as the best in the club’s history.
A solitary FA Cup win in 1984 remains their only success against United but Matt Ritchie is determined to make life difficult for the visitors at the Vitality Stadium.
“We are at home and I would not have thought they will fancy it but it will be an experience for most of their players,” he told the BBC.
“We will try and make it a tough day for them.”
Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian joined United’s lengthy injury list this week, the England defender playing through the pain of a groin problem in the closing stages against Wolfsburg after the Italy full-back had been substituted with a hamstring problem. Both are set for further tests ahead of the game on Saturday.
Captain Wayne Rooney (ankle), Morgan Schneiderlin (hip), Ander Herrera (hamstring) and Phil Jones (foot) are all doubts to face Bournemouth, while Luke Shaw (leg), Antonio Valencia (ankle) and Marcos Rojo (shoulder) are out.
Bastian Schweinsteiger could also be forced to miss the game through suspension should the FA issue a ban relating to a charge of violent conduct following the West Ham draw.
Bournemouth themselves have been forced to cope with a substantial injury list but Lee Tomlin (groin) and Sylvain Distin (illness) could return against United, while Tommy Elphick (ankle) is progressing well from an ankle injury.
Mark Pugh (calf), Christian Atsu (shin) and Adam Federici (ankle) are set to be sidelined, along with long-term absentees Callum Wilson, Tyrone Mings and Max-Alain Gradel (all knee).
Key Opta Stats:
-Bournemouth have won just one of their seven Premier League home games (W1 D3 L3).
-Manchester United have drawn 0-0 eight times in 2015 in all competitions, their highest tally in a calendar year since 2005 (10).
-Of all United managers, only Lal Hilditch in 1926-27 (14.3%) has drawn a higher proportion of league games 0-0 than Louis van Gaal (13.2% – 7/53).
-Bournemouth have conceded the joint-most goals in the Premier League (30 – alongside Newcastle), while Manchester United have conceded the fewest (10).
-Bournemouth have scored four goals in their last two league games, all from the 80th minute or later.
-Manchester United have lost just two of their last 18 Premier League games (W9 D7 L2) and are unbeaten in the last seven (W3 D4).
-Callum Wilson is still Bournemouth’s top goal-scorer in the Premier League this season (5 goals) even though he has not featured due to injury since 26th September.
-Wayne Rooney has averaged a goal every 525 minutes in the Premier League so far this season – his worst ever ratio in a single PL campaign (two goals in 1050 min
s). His previous worst was in 2003-04 at Everton (nine goals in 2440 mins – 271 mins per goal).
-Juan Mata has created 24 chances for Man Utd in the Premier League this season – twice as many as any other player for the club (Rooney is the next most with 12).