Park displays subpar performance
In his first appearance in 57 days, Park Ji-sung looked off the pace in the Manchester derby Tuesday (Korean time), unable prevent his side losing the match and possibly the English Premier League title, too.
In United’s 1-0 defeat to cross-city rivals City, the 31-year-old midfielder attempted to show he is still capable of contributing to the first team after sitting on the bench for the past seven games. But his performance was lackluster.
Park started the match, deployed in the center of midfield rather than his more familiar wide position. It seems he was there to try and mark the influential Yaya Toure but was clearly outperformed by his counterpart who effectively blocked United’s offense.
City captain Vincent Kompany knocked out what little wind was in the Red Devils’ sails with a header late in the first half for the game’s only goal.
Fans and media slammed Ferguson’s poor strategy and team selection, targeting Park’s contribution.
“Park couldn’t race off fast enough,” British daily The Independent said of the Korean’s subsitution, despite admitting that “Park, too, put his head down and grafted.”
On the other hand, they acclaimed Toure’s outstanding display.
“Ivory Coast star Yaya Toure has been praised for the key role he played in Manchester City’s vital victory over city rivals United on Monday,” the BBC said. “He was dominant during the derby against City’s rivals for the Premier League title.”
There are just two more Premier League games remaining for both Manchester clubs and City are leading with a better goal difference of eight. All the Citizens need to do is win twice more to ensure a first league title in 44 years, with a tricky away trip to Newcastle before hosting QPR on the last day of the season. United’s run in looks easier on paper, at home to Swansea before a road trip to Sunderland to round out their fixtures but they must now hope the blue side of the city slips up. To compound the defending champion’s problems, striker Danny Welbeck, who replaced Park in the derby, was injured in the match and looks set to miss the rest of the campaign.