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Manchester United

Malacia credited with inspiring Man Utd turnaround as Neville highlights 'fight & spirit' of £13m signing

4:07 AM EDT 9/5/22
TYRELL MALACIA MANCHESTER UNITED PREMIER LEAGUE 22082022
Tyrell Malacia has, according to Gary Neville, been integral to the reversal in fortune that now has Manchester United on a four-game winning streak.
  • Dutch full-back catching the eye
  • Red Devils have won four in a row
  • On-field leaders stepping up

WHAT HAPPENED? The Red Devils opened the 2022-23 season with back-to-back Premier League defeats, but the “fight and spirit” typified by £13 million ($15m) summer signing Malacia has allowed them to come storming back. A Dutch full-back has impressed many with his early outings for the Red Devils, with on-field leaders being found as more established stars take a back seat.

WHAT THEY SAID: Former United right-back Neville has told Sky Sports: “Some people will say it's the manager. Some people will say it's the changes that have been made with regards to Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire being left out. Do you know something? I will point to a little thing that I saw in the second half of the Brentford game and that's Tyrell Malacia. Someone on the pitch with a bit of personality, fight and spirit.

“And to be fair to Lisandro Martinez who wasn't on the pitch in that second half against Brentford because he was substituted. But against Liverpool there was some tenacity and from that, what you're seeing is Diogo Dalot is a lot more aggressive. The midfield players are a bit more aggressive. It takes just one to show leadership, it doesn't have to be the shouter or the captain.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Red Devils saw off Arsenal 3-1 in their latest outing, with that success coming on the back of morale-boosting victories over Liverpool, Southampton and Leicester. Erik ten Hag’s side are now up to fifth in the Premier League table.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Neville is not convinced that a title challenge is on the cards, but added on a welcome return to form: “They won't end up in the bottom half of the table now, they won't win the league. But they can have a better season than we all imagined. They had to spend £230m to get there.”

STORY IN THREE PHOTOS:

DID YOU KNOW? Manchester United have won their last four Premier League matches, after having lost their first two this season. They are only the third side in Premier League history to win four in a row after losing their opening two in a season, after Tottenham in 2011-12 and Arsenal in 2018-19.

WHAT NEXT FOR MAN UTD? Ten Hag’s men will be in Europa League action against Real Sociedad on Thursday, before then taking in a Premier League trip to Crystal Palace on Sunday.