Paul Scholes has cited Manchester United’s defence as one cause for the club’s terrible start to the season.
No Man United team has kicked off a season in worse fashion since the advent of the Premier League in 1992. Only David Moyes’ side equalled the record of Jose Mourinho’s side, who have lost thrice in the first seven games and won only three fixtures.
The style of play has been dull, the attitude wrong and few chances are being created. Scholes thinks United have great quality in their side, apart from in defence.
“I think there are, in the squad, a lot of very good, talented players,” Scholes said on BT Sport.
“But then you look at the back four that finished the game [against West Ham]. Ashley Young, a left-winger/right-winger, playing at right-back. Scott McTominay: young players. Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw.
“That is not a back four that is going to get you anywhere near winning the league.
“We ask are they good enough to challenge at the top of the league? No, they’re not, because there’s so many teams who are better than them.”
The former-United midfielder was speaking in the aftermath of Saturday lunchtime’s torrid 3-1 loss to West Ham, who came into the game sitting in 18th in the Premier League table.
While there are other issues with United, many stem from a weak defence. Mourinho’s anger at the board is because they refused to sign his defensive targets before the end of the transfer window. He reportedly wanted to bring in one of Toby Alderweireld or Harry Maguire but the pair were labelled too old and too expensive respectively.
The Reds’ inability to build chances consistently comes from the defence being terrible on the ball. Midfielders like Paul Pogba have to drop back to receive the ball, slowing United’s whole game now.
The most obvious problem with the defence is that it simply lacks quality, as Scholes says. The centre-backs are exposed on a weekly basis. No side can challenge for the title with Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof, especially a Mourinho side because the Portuguese needs a solid back line to allow the best to come out of his team in attack.