Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ibrahimovic: Direct tactics worked for United

SoccerNews in English Premier League 15 Jan 2017

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Manchester United’s change to a direct style made the difference as his side salvaged a 1-1 draw against Liverpool.

United looked like they were heading to a damaging Premier League defeat against their rivals at Old Trafford when James Milner scored a first-half penalty after a handball from Paul Pogba.

But Ibrahimovic swooped to score a header from Antonio Valencia’s cross with six minutes remaining, in the same move that had seen Marouane Fellaini head fellow substitute Wayne Rooney’s delivery against the post.

“We got one point, we were not at the top of our game and it was a hard fight,” Ibrahimovic said to Sky Sports after netting his 10th goal in as many league matches.

“We were 1-0 down and chased and chased. It was a different game in the second half and we got an equaliser in the end.

“We made simple mistakes in the first half. We were not feeling comfortable under the pressure of the opponent and we played the wrong way. 

“If we played like the second half in the first it would be a different game. 

“They played with high pressure and in the first half there were too many mistakes in our build up, so we chose to go more direct in the second half.

“We were more direct, we didn’t build from behind – we put it up and started from there instead.”

In-form Ibrahimovic is happy enough to have salvaged a draw that keeps them within five points of Tottenham and Liverpool in second and third.

“We would like to win every game of course to close the gap even more,” he said.

“But 1-1, okay, we continue like this – we have not lost a game in 15 or 16 and we are there.

“It was a good cross [from Valencia]. I thought first Fellaini’s header would go in the goal or off the post but we got a second chance. I tried to stay there and hit the goal.”

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