Before heading back up to Manchester for the club’s second successive game in the City this weekend defender Patrick Van Aanholt took time to reflect on events at The Etihad Stadium as early opportunities came and went before seeing Pep Guardiola’s side once again show their attacking threat.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game at Manchester City but we started the match well and created a couple of chances but they scored at a crucial time, just before half time and then of course the second half was very difficult from our point of view and at the end of the game it was a very disappointed dressing room.
“They are a top team in this country and they showed the reason that they are top of the league and have been in great scoring form in recent weeks but we need to take the lessons learned and move on from it.”
Roy Hodgson is this week faced with a selection headache following Christian Benteke’s injury last week and his absence will give another member of the squad an opportunity.
Bakary Sako, who scored the winner in the recent Carabao Cup tie against Huddersfield Town and 24 year old Freddie Ladapo are two that come into contention.
“Christian is our main striker and we all know his strengths so we know we are going to miss him but it is one of those opportunities where it gives another player a chance to come in to the starting eleven. We saw in the recent cup game how Bakary Sako took his chance and did well with a goal on the night. He’s been doing well in training and is looking sharp so I am sure he will be ready to take his chance if it comes along.
“Freddie is a very strong striker, good in the air and is hard to defend against. He is physically very fit and a talented young player who will be ready should his opportunity come along.
“Both are confident lads so whoever gets their chance will not let us down and have a chance to shine."
Manchester United come into the game on the back of five victories in six matches and recording clean sheets in each one. The Eagles defender knows that the squad have had another hard week out on the training ground and will look to take the confidence that they have within themselves to their next challenge at Old Trafford.
"We need to go there with a confidence about us but as a group we need to stick together and work hard at our game to take forward the work we have done out on the training ground this week. It’s a stadium with a tremendous atmosphere but as a player you have to be focussed and try and take out all that is going on around you.
“They are a club, like City, who have started the season well and are on fire at the minute and will be one of the clubs competing for the title come the end of the season. Jose Mourinho has signed a number of players that he wanted and he has formed a strong squad but you never know what could happen."
The seventh league match of the season may still see the squad looking for their first point of the campaign but Van Aanholt is sure that it will not be too long before the fortunes start to turn around.
“I am personally not worried about our league position, I think when we start scoring goals and getting points on the board our confidence will start coming through. The manager has the experience so knows what is needed and we showed last season against the Premier League top sides what we are capable of so that’s hope we can start turning our results around sooner rather than later.”
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