‘Man U must find balance’

LONDON. — Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney felt that his side’s 3-3 draw at Newcastle United showed that they need to find the right balance between attack and defence.

Lambasted for some turgid displays in recent weeks, Louis van Gaal’s men turned in a much more fluid attacking display in a gripping English Premier League encounter at St James’ Park on Tuesday night.

But despite leading 2-0 and 3-2 — Rooney scoring twice and creating a goal for Jesse Lingard — they were pegged back in the last minute when Paul Dummett equalised for Newcastle with a deflected shot.

“After going 2-0 up, we were in control of the game, and then we’ve let them back into it. To then get our third goal and concede again was disappointing from us,” Rooney told in-house television channel MUTV.

“They were silly goals to concede on our behalf and they were avoidable. They have cost us two points, so we’re disappointed.

“We can’t keep going on conceding three goals every game, so we have to work on that and create the chances without giving goals away.

“You can score as many goals as you want, but if you keep conceding goals, then it’s a problem. We have to keep trying to get that balance right and keep creating chances, scoring goals and keeping them out.”

Rooney opened the scoring with a ninth-minute penalty and then set up Lingard with a fine reverse pass in the 38th minute, only for Newcastle to level through Georginio Wijnaldum and an Aleksandar Mitrovic penalty.

Rooney restored the visitors’ lead with a trademark pile-driver in the 79th minute, taking him to within eight goals of Bobby Charlton’s club record of 249 goals, but Dummett had the last word.

The result, coupled with West Ham United’s 3-1 win at Bournemouth, saw United drop to sixth place in the table ahead of Sunday’s trip to Liverpool.

Rooney hopes that United’s rediscovered attacking edge will be on display again at Anfield.

“We’re always trying to create chances,” said the England striker. “Obviously we know that’s our aim, that’s what we work on every day at the training ground. “Sometimes it’s difficult, but on nights like tonight (Tuesday) we did it so we need to keep working and keep trying to improve.”

Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal dismissed suggestions that his side’s enterprising 3-3 draw at Newcastle United was a riposte to critics who have accused them of boring football.

In a breathless contest against former United assistant coach Steve McClaren’s team on Tuesday night, United led 2-0 and 3-2, only to lose two points when Newcastle defender Dummett equalised in the last minute.

Van Gaal, for whom Rooney scored twice and set up a goal for Lingard, was disappointed with his team for throwing away two important points, but did not feel he had to answer critics such as former United players turned television pundits Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand.

“I have not agreed with the analysis of many people because we are always attacking and we are always attacking also away,” said Van Gaal, whose side slipped to sixth in the English Premier League table. “But I have to live with it, I have to cope with it. My players have to cope with it. It is very difficult for them, but we have given two points away.

“You have to finish, of course, but it was always difficult. Rooney had also in the first half a very good chance. We could have made six goals.

“There were big possibilities and when you lose two points, that’s very, very sad. And also everybody knows it is our own fault — it’s not the referee or the opponent. We did it by ourselves.” — AFP.

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