Gary Neville believes Manchester United could have had a different result at Stamford Bridge after admitting their midfield was “absolutely ambushed” against Chelsea.
A goal from Alvaro Morata helped the champions to a 1-0 win on Sunday; the Spain striker being just one of their star performers in our ratings.
Neville claimed United’s central midfield pairing of Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera failed to cope at Stamford Bridge, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan also struggling to influence the game. Our readers were very quick to pin some blame on the Armenian following the defeat.
But assessing their defeat, Neville told Sky Sports: “I thought they got killed in midfield.
“Jose Mourinho, since the Liverpool game, has talked about not being able to freshen it up. I thought Herrera, Matic and Mkhitaryan got absolutely ambushed.
“(N’Golo) Kante was doing his job brilliantly, (Tiemoue) Bakayoko was running off him, (Eden) Hazard and (Cesc) Fabregas were dropping in and controlling the match. United were just well short in that area. If you dominate midfield in the big games, you’re in business and Chelsea did.
“I think Pogba is a big miss because of his confidence and arrogance. He takes the ball into tight areas, holds the ball, beats a man.
“Michael Carrick, too – he delivers those passes up to strikers, to the side of defenders, and I think those two players would have made a big difference.
“The intent was there but if you haven’t got quality and composure in midfield, you’re going to struggle. Passes weren’t connected, whereas with Chelsea, there was rhythm in their passing. Chelsea had rhythm, United only had moments.
“For me, Fabregas was the man of the match because he got control of the game and that was the difference for me. Chelsea’s midfield gripped this game. I don’t feel Manchester United’s midfield did.”