New Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof looks like he’s struggling to adapt and hasn’t yet imposed himself at the club, claims Sky Sports pundit Alan Pardew.
The Sweden defender arrived at the start of the summer from Benfica in an initial £30.7million deal, but his performances in pre-season have not exactly caught the eye.
And Pardew, in his new role as a pundit with Sky Sports, told the broadcaster their were serious areas for concern in his game following their 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.
“I thought United’s signings were particularly good with Romelu Lukaku at the top of the pitch, Nemanja Matic in that midfield role and Lindelof at the back,” the former Crystal Palace manager said.
“They needed a centre-back in particular but Lindelof’s performance against Real Madrid was concerning and there’s been a bit of concern over him in pre-season.
“They’ve had injuries in that area,” he added. Smalling never seems to play a full season and Jones is always injured so there’s going to be huge pressure on Lindelof.
“At the moment I think he’s finding it a struggle. Benfica and Portuguese league is not the challenge the Premier League is week in, week out. The intensity of set plays and the pressure put on central defenders is very, very difficult.
“I always remember Sir Alex Ferguson saying to me that at United, because you are Manchester United, your two centre-backs have to deal with two-on-two situations. You have to deal with one-on-one situations because you commit all your players forward to try and win the game with the opposition defending so deep. Lindelof’s one-on-one play worries me.”
United had the second best defensive record in the Premier League last season and former Newcastle and Crystal Palacew boss Pardew thinks Lindelof will have to adapt quickly to his new surroundings.
“He didn’t put any personality on the pitch [against Real Madrid],” Pardew said.
“If you are a Manchester United player you’ve got to have personality, you’ve got to have that aura about you.
“Of course it’s only his third or fourth game and he might grow, but he’s going to have to grow quickly.
“And hopefully for Manchester United’s sake he does because he will start on Sunday. He’s going to have to step up to the plate quickly.”