Home ยป Harry Maguire-Victor Lindelof audition does not go as planned

Harry Maguire-Victor Lindelof audition does not go as planned

Ten Hag will not be too pleased with both centre-backs at fault for Melbourne's opener

by Ayantan Chowdhury

It was interesting to see how Erik ten Hag lined up for Manchester United’s second pre-season game against Melbourne Victory. Harry Maguire, who usually lines up as the left centre-half, was played on the right while Victor Lindelof played as the left sided centre-back.

Despite United romping home to a 4-1 win, Ten Hag will be aware of the frailties playing these two defenders pose especially when trying to bypass a low block.

The Australian side preferred to sit back and counter when given the chance. And despite United hogging the majority of the possession, it was Melbourne who scored first.

Ben Folami broke the off-side trap and laid off a perfect low ball for Chris Ikonomidis to finish first time past a diving Tom Heaton.

Maguire and Lindelof are not blessed with pace and rely more on their positioning to thwart danger. The skipper, who had a tough time last season, tried to play Folami off-side but failed and then could not cut out his low ball.

Melbourne had more chances to counter but could not make them count and the Red Devils will need to be wary of handing the initiative to the opposition during transition moments.

Martinez the answer

The Dutchman wants his team to press aggressively and dominate possession. And that will inevitably involve the centre-halves having to push higher up the pitch in order to squeeze the play.

Most Premier League outfits will be rubbing their hands with glee considering Maguire and Lindelof and their lack of pace.

Even Ajax played in a similar style and Lisandro Martinez was inevitably the one who put out most of the fires. His showing against Borussia Dortmund and Erling Haaland in particular in last season’s Champions League was a highlight.

His arrival will benefit Ten Hag and the style he wants to implement. Maguire’s presence on the right might also indicate the manager’s preference to have two ball-playing defenders at the back.

This was Maguire’s first match in some time and a bit of rustiness was inevitable. But the England international will be aware of the danger he faces if he cannot perform in a Ten Hag system.

He needs to regain his old form otherwise Martinez’s arrival might just herald his demotion to the bench.

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