John Barnes claims “nothing is going wrong at the back for Man United” this season and reckons Liverpool would have the same issues if they left their defence isolated.
Only six teams have conceded more goals than the Red Devils in the Premier League this season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s outfit leaking seven in their last two fixtures against Liverpool and Man City.
Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have all come under intense criticism in recent weeks with Solskjaer clinging onto his job going into the international break.
But former Liverpool midfielder Barnes reckons any side would have the same problems as Man United if they didn’t defend as a team.
Barnes told BonusCodeBets: “Nothing is going wrong at the back for Manchester United. They just don’t defend as a complete team.
“If Liverpool left their back four to defend, and no one else in the team tried to get back and help, then Liverpool would concede goals.
“Manchester United don’t play as a team, defend as a team, and it’s so blatantly obvious. When they go forward, they play incredibly well, and they have top-class individuals that can win them matches. But unless you defend will all 11 players, giving 100% effort when they are out of possession, which they don’t, they will continue to ship goals and be inconsistent.
“They may continue to score and play attacking football, but they’ll still concede. Unless they resolve that situation, they’ll always be inconsistent, because they’ll rely on individuals to score the goals.”
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And Barnes reckons their biggest problem is what they do without the ball, he added: “People need to look at Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford, who aren’t defensive players. Manchester United want to play those three with Paul Pogba as an attacking midfielder as well.
“Liverpool have three excellent attacking players in their front three [Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah], but look what they do off the ball. That’s what is demanded of them by Jürgen Klopp. I’m not certain what is demanded of the Manchester United front three.
“It’s quite apparent as we’ve seen and has been highlighted on TV, that when they haven’t got possession, United don’t press enough from the front. I’m not even referring to pressing high up the pitch, but rather, chasing around their own half and trying to win the ball.
“The back four, and the two holding midfielders have been left by themselves. These days you need all 10 outfield players to work hard off the ball.”
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