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Francis: United have lost their aura

AFC Bournemouth pair Simon Francis and Glenn Murray claim Manchester United have lost their fear factor following Saturday’s remarkable 2-1 win.

Junior Stanislas and Joshua King were on target as Bournemouth heaped pressure on under-fire United manager Louis van Gaal over the weekend.

Bournemouth captain Francis said his team-mates were confident of a positive result as soon as the line-ups were announced.

With United’s defence struck by injury, Van Gaal fielded a back four of Guillermo Varela, Patrick McNair, Daley Blind and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, a defence with just 58 Premier League appearances between them – 36 from Blind alone.

“I don’t think they have that aura anymore,” Francis said.

“We looked at their team, especially their back four, and knew we could exploit that while staying wary of their front three, who always looked dangerous.

“We know we could catch them cold and it came down to the bit of inexperience they had in their team, especially in the back four.”

Murray, who spurned a glorious chance to score himself in the win, added further salt to the wound.

“When you see a back four like that, you almost have to fancy your chances,” said Murray.

“It’s a very different United line-up to what we are used to over the years.

“As soon as we have seen that, and obviously on the back of the confidence of last week [a 1-0 win against Chelsea] – and they had a very difficult game in Europe this week – with all the factors, we really fancied ourselves.”

United were captained by Michael Carrick in the shock loss, and the stand-in skipper said injuries were not an excuse for his side.

“I don’t like making excuses, we’ve got the squad, we’re the club that we are because we want to be fighting in the competition. When you’ve got injuries you’ve got to deal with them, so I’m not making excuses,” he said.

“[The fear factor] comes with winning games. We need to get back to winning games.”

Mon 14 Dec, 2015
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