Paul Scholes claimed Jurgen Klopp will be “rubbing his hands together” after blasting Manchester United despite their critical comeback win against Atalanta.
Manchester United roared back from 2-0 down to secure a vital 3-2 victory in the Champions League. The United players were visibly overjoyed when the final whistle blew, but the mood was rather more sedate in the BT Sport studio,
Red Devils legend Scholes was working as a pundit on the match, and was aghast at what he saw in the first half.
United trailed by two goals going into half time, and Scholes claimed elite teams the likes of which United will soon face in the league would have been “out of sight” if their first half performance was replicated.
“I said it could have gone either way but you know what, I get all the United excitement with the way they’re playing. But that first half, I just didn’t enjoy it,” Scholes said on BT Sport (via the Express).
“I think that first half put me off the second half in all honesty. I think if United were playing a better team it would have been out of sight
“They were playing against Atalanta with five players missing, a defender who had to go off at half-time.
“And great, I get all the excitement, the going for it, all the chances created, but there was something about it that I just didn’t enjoy.
“The first half I thought was worrying, they just looked anything but a team. It just lacked unity.
“It was six players – it was the back four, the two holding midfield players and the rest. That to me is a worrying sign.
“Can they go and play against Liverpool like that? Never in a million years. Can they go and play against Manchester City like that? Can you go and play against a better team in the Champions League like that?
“I don’t want to sound like a party pooper, it was a great night for the fans and a great comeback with some really good goals and Cristiano was the big hero again winning us the game.
“But that first half was a major worry for me.”
Scholes also claimed that Reds boss Jurgen Klopp would be “rubbing his hands together” watching United’s disjointed first-half display. United face Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.
“That first half stuck with me,” continued Scholes. “If you’re playing against quality players, there’s no way you win that game. Not a chance.
“Will Ole play that way on Sunday versus Liverpool? Go and do that on Sunday and see what happens. Jurgen Klopp at home will be rubbing his hands together.”
Maguire sick of conceding same type of goals
Meanwhile, United captain Harry Maguire twice insisted his side must improve at dfeending set pieces.
“The first half we conceded two bad goals,” he told BT Sport. “Two big moments in the game.
“For the first they caught us out and then the second it is a set-play that we shouldn’t be conceding. We created a lot of chances in the first half so we knew at half-time that the next goal would be crucial.
“We got the goals we needed and deserved and I think we deserved the win in the end. Yes, we made it difficult but it is a tremendous victory in the end.”
Maguire again referenced the goals United conceded later in his interview, adding: “We were two goals down and we need to sharpen up with that. But we had plenty of chances. I think Marcus [Rashford] had two one-on-ones in the first-half.
“We are working hard to be more solid but it is about winning and the last three or four games we have conceded too many set-pieces. It is fine margins but we need to do better. We showed great togetherness. We were clapped off at half-time by some of these fans and they gave us the belief we needed.”