Erik ten Hag has warned it will take “months” to consistently produce the intensity Manchester United need to become a force again.
There was an air of optimistic at Old Trafford following four consecutive Premier League wins, but that came to a juddering halt when United suffered a 6-3 derby defeat at Manchester City.
Ten Hag’s side came from behind to win 3-2 at Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League on Thursday and return to top-flight action with a trip to Everton.
“It’s more – it’s physical, it’s mental, it’s also sustainability,” Ten Hag said of his preferred style. “It’s like a routine, a way of life and you have to bring it to every training in your system, it’s not something that you build or progress in a week or a month.
“Now it’s a system that has to be and a demand in nowadays top football. And it’s quite clear City is the standard in that. There are more teams. But I think we can deliver that. It will not come overnight, it will also take more than weeks – it will take months.”
United come up against an Everton side unbeaten in six league games, with the Toffees having conceded the fewest goals in the competition.
Their defensive form has been improved by the loan signing of Conor Coady from Wolves, with reports claiming Everton’s buy option for the England international is a mere £4.5million.
Asked if he wanted to sign Coady permanently, Frank Lampard said: “It’s not a question for now because it’s so far away, a lot can happen.
“He’s been amazing in terms of his own performance and his influence on the team, on and off the pitch.
“Conor knows how I feel about him, how the club feel about him. I don’t think it’s time to answer that question. It’s good that he’s settled in really quickly.”
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is also back in contention for Everton after overcoming a groin problem.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Everton – Jordan Pickford
Everton owe plenty to the excellent form of Jordan Pickford. Of goalkeepers to play more than one game, only Neto (82.4 per cent) has a higher save percentage than Everton’s Jordan Pickford (81.6 per cent) in the Premier League this season. It is Pickford’s best save rate in a single Premier League campaign.
Manchester United – Anthony Martial
Against no side has team-mate Anthony Martial scored more Premier League goals than he has against Everton (five). The France forward has scored three times in his last two appearances.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Antony has scored in his first two Premier League games for United – no player has ever scored in their first three appearances for the Red Devils in the competition.
– Lampard is looking to become only the third manager in Everton’s history to win his first two league matches against Manchester United, after Dick Molyneux in 1892 and Roberto Martinez in 2014. Lampard had failed to beat the Red Devils when he was Chelsea boss in three attempts (D1 L2).
– Marcus Rashford has faced Everton more often without ever scoring than he has any other opponent in the Premier League (11 games).
– Everton are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games (W2 D4). They last had a longer run in November/December 2017 (seven games), while they last had a longer run under a single manager between December 2016 and February 2017 (nine under Ronald Koeman).
– United have lost eight of their last 10 Premier League away games (W2), keeping a clean sheet in both victories. However, the Red Devils scored as many goals in their 6-3 defeat against Man City last time out as they had in their previous eight away league games combined.