Arsene Wenger believes Diogo Dalot, Antony and Jadon Sancho should take a big portion of Manchester United blame for the defeat to Manchester City.
United lost 6-3 to their derby rivals on Sunday to halt the recent progress they had made. The Red Devils went to the Etihad Stadium with four wins in a row under their belts, but they quickly unravelled.
And while scoring three goals away at Man City may be an achievement, United were 4-0 and 6-1 down.
Erik ten Hag’s men got off to the worst possible start when Phil Foden – a hat-trick hero alongside Erling Haaland – opened the scoring. City hit Man Utd with two quick-fire chances, which forced them back and led to the opener.
And former Arsenal boss Wenger slammed three United players in particular for not addressing the obvious problem.
“What is for me unbelievable in the first half is that Man Utd has defended so badly on the flanks,” Wenger told beIN Sports.
“From the first minute Dalot got a yellow card, and Sancho and Antony did not contribute defensively. They were, in the whole half, flooded on the flanks and they were always in trouble.”
Possession tactics were a key topic discussed before the game. Gary Neville claimed that United must learn to play better with more possession, not just on the counter-attack.
While he admired Ten Hag for playing on the break to get wins on the board, he insisted that Man Utd need to adapt if they are to truly progress.
But, Wenger insisted that the visitors failed to change their game plan against City.
Arsene Wenger slams Man Utd performance
“After that, when they had the ball, I felt they were obsessed by respecting too much the game plan,” the Frenchman said.
“They wanted always to go too quickly forward and lost so many balls and didn’t have enough possession.
“They didn’t play for possession, they wanted just to get on the counter-attack.”
United went into the half-time break 4-0 down, before Antony made it 4-1 with a fantastic long-range effort.
However, Haaland and then Foden both completed their City hat-tricks to make it 6-1.
And while Anthony Martial added a brace to take some of the gloss off City’s win, they were only consolation strikes in truth.
United need to reset
Sunday’s result proved both how good Man City are this season, but also where United need to work on.
Indeed, it is clear Man Utd need to find a different way to play other than on the counter-attack.
They have the players to make those tactics work, with Marcus Rashford, Antony and Sancho.
But, it was clear on Sunday that the trio do not carry the same weight in defence. And that means a change of tactics is required.
The Red Devils travel to Cyprus on Thursday to face Omonia in their third Europa League group stage game.
They will expect to get three points there. Next Sunday’s Premier League clash away at Everton will prove a sterner test of their credentials.