Football: Winning must be Manchester United's goal

ST VIDEO: JOHN PRAVIN
Former Manchester United stars Ryan Giggs (left) and Gary Neville surrounded by fans at Woodleigh Park yesterday. Giggs said the Red Devils need midfielders or even defenders to chip in with goals, while Neville said Jose Mourinho's men have failed t
Former Manchester United stars Ryan Giggs (left) and Gary Neville surrounded by fans at Woodleigh Park yesterday. Giggs said the Red Devils need midfielders or even defenders to chip in with goals, while Neville said Jose Mourinho's men have failed to go for the jugular to ensure victory.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs (left) and Gary Neville speak to the media before the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017.
Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs (left) and Gary Neville speak to the media before the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs in action while playing in the inaugural CF Cup Final, after the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017.
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs in action while playing in the inaugural CF Cup Final, after the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs (centre) and Gary Neville (left) in action while playing in the inaugural CF Cup Final, after the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017.
Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs (centre) and Gary Neville (left) in action while playing in the inaugural CF Cup Final, after the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs congratulates a teammate while playing in the inaugural CF Cup Final, after the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017.
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs congratulates a teammate while playing in the inaugural CF Cup Final, after the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs in action while playing in the inaugural CF Cup Final, after the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017.
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs in action while playing in the inaugural CF Cup Final, after the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Manchester United legend Gary Neville high-fives a teammate while playing in the inaugural CF Cup Final, after the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017.
Manchester United legend Gary Neville high-fives a teammate while playing in the inaugural CF Cup Final, after the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Giggs, Neville declare that United must find scorers other than striker Ibrahimovic

Manchester United need to get their players scoring from all areas of the pitch if they are to fix their goal drought.

The Red Devils' scoring woes came under scrutiny from United's former assistant manager Ryan Giggs during the launch of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park yesterday.

They have scored only 43 goals in 29 Premier League games, a statistic which had manager Jose Mourinho admitting on Tuesday, after a ninth league draw at their Old Trafford home: "It is obvious we do not score enough goals."

Giggs, part of the fabled Fergie's fledglings who played a key role during United's glory days under the legendary Scotsman Alex Ferguson, when the team won 13 Premier League titles, feels that the current team are too dependent on Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Swede, despite being 35, has contributed 16 league goals and 27 in total this term, with Juan Mata (10) the only other player to reach double figures. All this despite having firepower in the form of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.


Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs (left) and Gary Neville speak to the media before the opening ceremony of The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Said Giggs: "Zlatan's the striker but we need goals to come from everywhere - every part of the pitch, whether it is the midfielders or even the defenders who can chip in goals from set pieces."

Former United captain Gary Neville, who was also at the launch, lamented: "(The goal drought) has cost them a lot of games such as against Arsenal, Burnley and Bournemouth, where they could have won but they drew instead."

He admitted: "They're in a lot of trouble in terms of trying to qualify for the Champions League.

"They have to win the Europa League so it's the biggest problem they've had all season - not killing off the teams when they get the chances."

United have won only two of their last five Premier League games. Despite controlling possession in their last two games, Mourinho's men could not find the winning formula - finishing goalless against West Bromwich Albion and failing to turn on the engine against Everton. It took a late penalty from Ibrahimovic on Tuesday to salvage their 19-game unbeaten run. They play Sunderland today.

However, Neville remained optimistic about a solution, noting: "At least they know the problem so they know what to fix."

Giggs and Neville were in town for the launch of The Arena and the opening of their co-owned Cafe Football, with the Singapore outlet the first franchise to open outside Britain.


Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Social and Family Development Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim and Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs kick soccer balls towards a make-shift goal to officially open The Arena and Cafe Football at Woodleigh Park on April 8, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The event, which was attended by about 150 guests and eager fans, saw the United legends captain the two CF Cup finalists in a thrilling friendly that ended 9-6 in favour of the Welshman's team.

Apart from the football-themed restaurant, The Arena offers sports and fitness options including muay thai, aerial yoga, rock climbing and dance and functional fitness.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 09, 2017, with the headline 'Winning must be their goal'. Print Edition | Subscribe