Manchester United hope to remain stellar on road against Newcastle

02 December 2023 - 11:30
By Reuters
Manchester United's Andre Onana in action.
Image: REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya Manchester United's Andre Onana in action.

Manchester United will try to continue their strong Premier League form — and put another uneven Uefa Champions League outing behind them — when they visit injury-plagued Newcastle United on Saturday (10pm).

Manchester United (8-5-0, 24 points) have now won five of their last six in the league — and four straight on their league travels — after an impressive 3-0 win at Everton last Saturday.

That run has pushed Erik ten Hag's group up to sixth place in the table entering the weekend, a point above Newcastle (7-4-2, 23 points) and only six back of the Premier League lead.

But the Champions League has been a different story, with ten Hag's side earning only four points so far.

On Wednesday in Istanbul, two mistakes from goalkeeper Andre Onana helped Galatasaray come from two down to earn a 3-3 home draw against the Red Devils.

That puts Man United on the brink of continental elimination. Ten Hag's team was also eliminated from the League Cup in a 3-0 home loss to Newcastle exactly a month ago. Even so, the second-year manager insists the performances in all competitions have been strong, even if the results have varied.

“You said it: Very good, how good we played on Wednesday,” ten Hag said. “We played very good. In Copenhagen, we played very good and, even in Bayern Munich, we played very good. We have to do some things better, eliminating individual errors. Also things in the transition, but we can sort this out. I would be more concerned if we didn't play that well.”

Newcastle is also coming off a disappointing midweek Champions League draw, 1-1 at Paris St Germain, conceding deep in second-half stoppage time on a controversially awarded penalty for a handball.

But the more pressing issue for the Magpies is surviving a hefty injury list, with none of those absentees expected back on Saturday. The most recent additions are midfielders Joe Willock and Sean Longstaff, who haven't featured since the November international break.

Manager Eddie Howe is focused on surviving December — which will include eight matches in all competitions — and can point to previous recent wins over Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal as proof his squad can earn points while short-handed.

“We want to get through the month and do well,” Howe said. “We've still got a really good team on the pitch and a very good team. We have youth and experience, we're good enough to get some positive results.”