Manchester United ‘optimistic’ for derby after win at Juve, says Ander Herrera

Jamie Jackson in Turin on 8 November 2018

Ander Herrera wants Manchester United to continue showing the personality evident in the win at Juventus, which he says was the perfect boost for Sunday’s derby at Manchester City.

United were heading for defeat in Turin on Wednesday after Cristiano Ronaldo’s volley. Yet José Mourinho’s team displayed character to claim a memorable victory through Juan Mata’s 87th-minute equaliser and Alex Sandro’s own goal.

United made a slow start to the season, with the players and manager drawing criticism. Since the comeback victory over Newcastle last month they have lost once in six matches, 1-0 at home to Juventus.

Wednesday’s win was a third from a losing position in the sequence, United having also overturned a deficit at Bournemouth last Saturday.

“When you play for Manchester United, the biggest club in the United Kingdom and one of the biggest in the world, you have to get used to pressure,” Herrera said. “Manchester United players need to have the personality to cope with that. It’s true when our Premier League opponents lose games, the papers don’t talk that much but when we lose they do.

“I have been here five years and with [Louis] van Gaal [Mourinho’s predecessor] every day the papers were talking then. Since Mourinho came, it is the same and we won titles. One day if another manager comes, they [critics] will speak too so it’s something we are used to coping with.”

United’s upturn means morale is high going into the game against the champions at the Etihad Stadium.

“When you win you prepare the next game more optimistically,” said Herrera, though he refused to get carried away. “We are the real Manchester United also in the bad moments because we have to recognise we have bad moments and have to improve. It’s true that the last results gave us good spirit, energy, but the real Manchester United … we will see at the end of the season if we can say that we had a good season.”

Herrera is not reading much into last season’s corresponding derby, when United came from 2-0 down at half-time to win 3-2.

“It’s a new game, a new situation,” the midfielder said. “Hopefully, we can win. It’s true they are the favourites because they are in unbelievable form but this is Manchester United and you never know what can happen.”

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