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Wednesday 20 November 2019

Ince: Lack of expectation may work in United's favour

Paul Ince. Photo: Getty Images
Paul Ince. Photo: Getty Images

Paul Ince believes most Manchester United fans have already given up hope of a positive result for the side against Liverpool in Sunday's Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

Jurgen Klopp's table-topping Reds head into one of the iconic games of the English season looking to secure an 18th successive Premier League win, that would equal the record set by Manchester City two seasons ago.

The sight of Liverpool securing a landmark win at Old Trafford would add to the agonies for United fans, with the midfielder, who played for both clubs, suggesting the lack of expectations around the home side could work in their favour.

"For the first time ever, the majority of Manchester United fans actually think they can't beat Liverpool," stated Paddy Power ambassador Ince.

"It's at Old Trafford, the ground will be full and I know the supporters will all be behind the team - they always are. But I think the majority will just be hoping they don't get a hiding, it will be that kind of mindset

"That's just where United are at this moment in time, nobody knows what they're going to get with them. They don't have a consistent side each week and that is always going to make you inconsistent on the pitch.

"Even so, there is no real pressure on United because the expectations are all on Liverpool, the tables have well and truly turned. It wasn't like that in my day. When I played for Manchester United we always expected to beat Liverpool. We were the better team, it's as simple as that.

"Now, it has completely reversed and everyone is expecting Liverpool to get the three points against United, whether they're playing home or away. Last year they won 3-1 at Anfield and it was 0-0 at Old Trafford with Jose Mourinho in charge. The expectation for them now is to beat United every single time.

"That's a bit sad but it also means the pressure is off and I think it could work in their favour. United fans will probably be thinking 'we'll take a beating so long as it's only 1-0 or 2-1 and we're in the game'. That might be okay."

Ince suspects a heavy defeat for United will pile the pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

"The problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the pressure will mount if they end up getting beaten by three or four," added Ince.

"Pundits will start asking even more questions but he knows that himself, we all do.

"What I'd really like to see from United in this game is a bit of progress in terms of the style of their play. I understand it's a results business but I'm not too concerned about that. The circumstances are difficult at the moment and they've got a few injuries, but the fans want to see progression more than anything else.

"I don't actually mind losing games. I don't mind going to Newcastle and getting beaten as long you come away from it and their goalkeeper is the man of the match. But when you're not getting shots, that is a massive concern."

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