Manchester United legend and former captain, current Sky Sport news pundit Gary Neville has lashed out at the United defense saying “that back four is not good enough to win a premier league title”
After picking up 3 points on the opening day of the Premier League campaign against Leicester City, United lost to Brighton & Hove Albion by a 3-2 scoreline, which was shadowed by the horrible performance of the Manchester United defenders.
Eric Bailly was particularly guilty for the lose leaving Victor Lindelof exposed most of the time and the Ivory Coast defender was heavily slammed by Gary Neville after the Brighton match.
‘Bailly and Lindelof were poor. They are the ones Jose has signed. It has been poor recruitment. That back four aren’t good enough to win the title.’
— Isiah Madrigal (@Realisiah1) August 20, 2018
The Red Devils headed into the Brighton Vs Manchester United match riding high on confindence. However, the confidence didn’t last long and was shattered by 3 first half goals from Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy and Pascal Grob respectively.
They made it difficult for Manchester United to recover a 3 goal deficit although, United managing 2 goals later on. Eric Bailly was to blame for his shabby defending alongside conceding a penalty.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho decided to start with Ashley Young, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw at the back. Clearly, the back four faultered at every point and speaking after the match about their performance, Gary Neville unsurprisingly declared:
“In the first 15-20 mins, they melted.”
“that back four look like it will always concede goals.”
“the problem is, when man united were so publicly in the window chasing centre-backs, they (current defenders of the team) know that they are on borrowed time.”
“Forget everything else, that back four is not good enough to win a Premier League title. Let’s start and finish with that.”
Gary further added that:
“The goalkeeper is the best in the world, the midfield is strong with Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Fred and up front there is Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and a lot of good players. But that back four looks like it will always cause problems and always concede goals. It doesn’t have authority and that is a problem.”
Gary Neville claimed that none of the defenders present in the current United squad are good enough and are of the quality of second or third teams..
When asked about Manchester United’s chances of challenging for the title, Gary Neville told Sky Sports:
“It will get better and Manchester United will get stronger and won’t be easy to play against. I do think they will finish in the top four, but the top four historically has never been the benchmark of what Manchester United are. They have always judged themselves by Premier League titles.”
“At this moment in time, that looks unlikely. Obviously it is still early in the season, but it does look unlikely that Manchester United are anywhere near good enough, as we sit here today.”
The primary reason for United’s poor performance against Brighton & Hove Albion was absolutely in the defensive department. The defense looked unaware and unmindful. And moreover, Mourinho has not been helped by the club in their part.
It was clear from the begining that Jose wanted to sign one or two centre-backs to the team, but the club hierarchy was certainly unsuccessful in doing so. Also, the fact that the club allowed Daley Blind to leave Old Trafford to make more space for new defensive signings, yet the club has failed to land any of their targets. This might be one of the key reasons that has prompted Gary to lash out at the club transfer dealings.
Ajax & Manchester United have reached an oral agreement on a transfer for Daley Blind. €16 million + €5m potential add ons. He will become the most expensive Ajax signing ever. (De Telegraaf) #mufc pic.twitter.com/e0k0wFWPcr
— Full Time DEVILS (@FullTimeDEVILS) July 13, 2018
Gary Neville feels that boss Jose Mourinho needs to be backed in the transfer market. The club needs to sign better quality defenders to suit the managers style of play. They have only acquired Diogo Dalot, a young Portuguese fullback to replace Antonio Valencia in the near future.
Official: Diogo Dalot signs for Manchester United on a 5 year contract with an option for an extra year for a transfer fee of €22m. pic.twitter.com/VluuubkQN4
— Man Utd Stuff (@ManUtdStuff) June 6, 2018
Neville said during the interview:
“He needs further investment. It’s obvious that he does and the club should support him in that because you can’t withdraw part way through a process. They have to go for it.”
“Jose Mourinho knows about Premier League title-winning teams and about winning titles in different countries. The base and foundation of that is a good defence.”
However, even Mourinho is to be blamed for this condition of United’s defense. Jose never liked Luke Shaw and criticised him publicly last season. Yet, Jose was forced to hand Shaw a start this season due to shortage of players at the left-back position. A player to succeed needs the backing of his manger, which Mourinho clearly isn’t providing.
Victor Lindelof is a Jose Mourinho signing, which the club delivered as requested by him but, it seems that the manager has lost his trust in him only after one season, which was clearly evident by the club’s pursuit of various centre-backs in the summer transfer window.
Let’s hope that the club hierachy responds to Neville’s criticism of their failed transfers dealings, and does better in the subsequent transfer window. Otherwise, Manchester United may not be able to reach the glory again anytime soon.