Ghana's No. 1

Gary Neville dismisses suggestions Casemiro should have started for Manchester United against Man City

Published on: 02 October 2022

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has dismissed suggestions that Brazilian midfielder Casemiro should have started for Erik ten Hag's side against Manchester City on Sunday.

The Reds fell to a 6-3 defeat at the Etihad Stadium, with Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both grabbing hat-tricks for the home side as Pep Guardiola's men dominated proceedings in the derby.

Antony scored a stunning consolation goal for United in the second period before substitute Anthony Martial, who returned to the team after being sidelined with an injury, grabbed a brace towards the end of the clash.

Ten Hag opted for the same team that defeated Arsenal 3-1 in the Premier League last month, with Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay forming the midfield trio. As a result, Casemiro - who arrived in the summer from Real Madrid - was forced to settle for a place among the substitutes once again.

Several United supporters were calling for the Brazilian defensive midfielder to start in the derby, but the Reds boss stuck with the same midfield that had performed so well in the past month - a decision that club legend Neville agreed with.

Speaking on The Gary Neville podcast after the match, the Sky Sports pundit said: "I don’t think if you come in off this game you’re analysing Manchester United’s performance you should be saying ‘why wasn’t Casemiro starting alongside McTominay - that’s a really big mistake from Erik ten Hag’, I don’t feel that at all sat here.

"I feel the players he put out on that pitch have been confident together and I know there’s been the disruption of the international and the Queen passing - which isn’t helpful when the team are on a good run but all the teams have had to cope with that.

"It was the unforced errors, anxiety on the ball, lack of composure. I’m not talking about players in defensive positions who are being pressed, I’m talking about the midfield players and the forwards; Rashford, Eriksen, Fernandes, McTominay - I could name more - they were all giving it away first-half unnecessarily.

"It just brings further negative vibes throughout the team when your best players aren’t keeping the ball well, they should’ve been better, forcing it far too early.

"It was almost like when they get it ‘we’ve got counter-attack we’ve got to put it behind City’ but to do that you’ve got to play those two or three passes through midfield to set it up. You can’t just think you can play one pass, knock it over the top - even if they’re not City’s best centre-backs - they read that, it became really simple for City’s defenders to cope with it."

Casemiro has made six appearances for United since his summer switch from Los Blancos, however, the 30-year-old has only made one start, which came against Real Sociedad in the Europa League.


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