Manchester United scapegoat defends himself: I keep the ball

Tom Cleverley has come in for criticism of late due to his lack of ambition while in possession, but has stated that his goal is not to give away the ball.

A lack of creativity in the centre of midfield has been one of Manchester United’s main issues in the recent memory, with Paul Scholes not replaced at Old Trafford.

Some of the Red Devils fanbase have taken their frustration at lacklustre events of late out on Tim Cleverley, who has been guilty of passing the ball sideways or towards his own goal as his first instinct.

However, despite being labeled as something of a scapegoat, the England international has defended himself.

“I watch Spanish football a lot. If they pass the ball sideways but keep possession, the fans clap them," he told The Mirror.

“Their attitude is that as long as you have got the ball, the other team can’t hurt you.

“I know the mentality is different here and that is what makes our game the best in the world because it is so intense.

“But sometimes I have got to not listen and play my game because I feel I’m doing the best thing for the team.”

Cleverley admitted that he has taken some of the criticism to heart, but that he is motivated to improve and win back the support of the Old Trafford faithful.

“When I first started getting singled out, it stung, yeah, but it’s something you have got to learn to take when the team is not doing well,” he continued.

“My job goes under the radar at times. I am not a player who’s going to beat three or four people and stick it in the top corner or go round tackling people like Roy Keane.

“I would like the fans on my side and it hurts a little bit when you have grown up at the club and love the club every bit as much as the supporters.

“But there are other people in the current United squad who have been through this kind of thing and they have made sure their quality shone through.

“I have got to look at those people. I have learned to take it with a pinch of salt and I’m sure it will make me stronger for the rest of my career.

“I feel I’ve been made a scapegoat a little bit. A few people in the media certainly seem to have a perception of me not doing much in the team.

“Don’t get me wrong, I know I can do better but people are making a big thing about how I don’t score enough goals when that is not necessarily my first job in the team.”

image: © joncandy

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