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Jose Mourinho: I don’t know what Man United’s best defence is

by Harry Robinson

Manchester United’s best defence is a mystery after a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

The Reds have struggled in the first three games of the season. They’ve conceded seven goals in those opening fixtures, and six in the last two matches.

Individual mistakes have been the main cause of that. But simultaneously, United have scored just one goal in the last two losses, against Brighton & Hove Albion and Spurs. Problems, then, are all over the pitch.

At Old Trafford on Monday, Mourinho started with a back three, made up if Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and midfielder Ander Herrera.

It was a surprising tactical tweak. In the second half, it was exposed as the lack of communication between the three saw Spurs run riot.

Asked in his press conference, Mourinho said his best centre-back pairing was still a mystery to him.

Mourinho was desperate to sign a new centre-back in the summer transfer window, which closed over two weeks ago. Targets included Harry Maguire, Yerry Mina and Diego Godin as well as Spurs’ Toby Alderweireld, who impressed in Manchester on Monday.

United’s CEO Ed Woodward didn’t sanction moves for any of Mourinho’s targets, and each game this season has simply provided more and more evidence that United needed to spend money on strengthening their defence.

No one knows United’s best central defence at this stage. In the first three games, Jones, Smalling, Lindelof and Bailly have all played. All four have looked woeful at moments.

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