Captaincy pride eases Evans pain

28 August 2014 06:46

Jonny Evans will look back with pride on his first game as Manchester United captain - despite the humiliating result.

The Northern Ireland defender wore the armband as United were hammered 4-0 by MK Dons in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.

It would be fair to say it was not the 26-year-old's finest performance - he presented Ben Reeves with the ball to set up Will Grigg's opener and was nutmegged by Benik Afobe as the on-loan Arsenal striker went through to score the League One side's fourth goal.

Even Dons chairman Pete Winkelman acknowledged United "looked uncertain defensively" - but Evans would not let the horrendous result overshadow the honour bestowed on him by manager Louis van Gaal.

"It's a massive thing in my career to captain Manchester United," he told the Daily Star.

"While I was disappointed with the result, wearing the armband isn't something many people get to do so I'm proud of that."

Michael Keane, Marnick Vermijl and Reece James made up the rest of an unfamiliar back four and Van Gaal claimed afterwards his selection was dictated by injuries and fixture congestion.

The outcome echoed Evans' first senior appearance for United - a shock 2-0 defeat to Coventry, also in the League Cup, in 2007.

Evans continued: "In circumstances like these, I'm sure the manager would like to blood debutants alongside more experienced players, but because we played on Sunday I don't think that was possible.

"There's a consequence of that, I learnt that myself on my debut against Coventry a few years ago, but it's a big learning experience.

"I think the most important thing is to pick yourself up, learn from it and don't dwell on it too much."

Former United favourite Paul Scholes recalled another famous upset in the club's history, 1995's 4-3 aggregate loss to York which came despite a 3-1 second-leg win.

Writing in his column for the Independent, Scholes backed Van Gaal to turn the club around but offered his own take on United's defensive troubles.

The Dutchman took Holland to third place in this summer's World Cup using a 3-5-2 formation and has attempted to implement a similar strategy with United in their opening two Premier League games against Swansea and Sunderland, which have yielded just a single point.

Scholes wrote: "Three men at the back doesn't seem to be working for them yet. At the moment United look like they are going to concede goals too often.

"I understand that Van Gaal is trying to make a lot of changes very quickly but the problem is the players don't seem to have adapted comfortably to 3-5-2 yet. It is never easy to make a dramatic tactical change in a short space of time when you are dealing with players who have been drilled to play with a flat back four for many years.

"This doesn't mean Van Gaal's preference for 3-5-2 is wrong - change isn't necessarily a bad thing at all and players have a responsibility to trust and believe in their manager's methods."

Source: PA