Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Two Man Utd stars torched after Copenhagen defeat as Paul Scholes claims star’s ‘legs have gone’

Former player Paul Scholes now a TNT tv pundit during the UEFA Champions League match at Old Trafford, Manchester

Paul Scholes Man Utd legend and TV pundit

Paul Scholes feels Bruno Fernandes lacks the leadership needed to be Manchester United captain and has explained how he has let Rasmus Hojlund down, while also suggesting another star has ‘lost his pace’ following their controversial 4-3 defeat to FC Copenhagen.

Erik ten Hag’s side were leading 2-0 and 3-2 at various points in the game but somehow contrived to both shoot themselves in the foot and suffer some unfortunate decisions from the officials as they ultimated lost 4-3. It leaves Manchester United bottom of the Champions League group with just three points and needing to beat Galatasaray away and Bayern Munich at home to stand a chance of reaching the knockout stages.

Tellingly, it also means United have lost in three of their four Champions League outings to date; a miserable run of form that has heaped pressure on the shoulders of Ten Hag, with the club already having been beaten nine times in all competitions this season.

With talk of the sack refusing to go away, Ten Hag seemingly still has the backing of those in power at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson is also thought to have handed Ten Hag his backing after a crunch meeting with incoming new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

In the meantime, Ten Hag needs to figure out quite a number of issues within the club. Problems around Jadon Sancho are well documented, though his immediate concerns will be around those players on the pitch for United and why they keep managing to throw away games.

One of those that Scholes believes is a concern is Fernandes with the pundit questioning both his leadership and his lack of help offered to young United striker Hojlund.

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Paul Scholes hits out at Bruno Fernandes after Man Utd defeat

Taking the Portuguese captain to task, Scholes told TNT Sports: “I think Bruno Fernandes needs to help Hojlund a bit more. This is a young lad who’s come over from a different country, he’s not scored a Premier League goal. He’s so young and he needs help.

“I think Fernandes needs to get as close to him as he possibly can, because half the time he’s out, all over the pitch. Play your position and help the kid out and this lad will score goals.

“He’s very young and inexperienced, but the lad can finish, we’ve seen that, it’s just a question of getting the chances.”

Fernandes got himself on the scoresheet from the penalty spot to put United 3-2 up during the second half. But late concessions to Lukas Lerager and 17-year-old Roony Bardghji sealed one of the most memorable results in Copenhagen’s history.

Assessing their problems, Scholes continued: “They’re going to play better teams than Copenhagen but I thought there was some fight in the performance.

“They’re just lacking a bit of leadership. Maybe if Casemiro was in there, things might have been different. It’s just that collapsing that’s really hurting them at the minute. Once they concede one, the second one is always coming.”

Raphael Varane has ‘lost his legs’

Scholes is also unhappy at the levels of Raphael Varane, who we recently exclusively revealed would be the subject of a big-money bid from Saudi Arabia.

He has featured just seven minutes across the last three Premier League games, despite being fit enough to take his place off the bench.

However, Varane was needed off the bench on Wednesday night as a 15th-minute replacement for Jonny Evans.

Scholes, though, feels the former Real Madrid man may have lost some of his pace and his form is extremely troubling.

“Slightly [surprised by the selection], especially because he brought Varane into the team – Jonny was a free transfer,” Scholes said on TNT Sports. “I think whichever centre-back he plays, I think they have to play counter-attacking football because none of them are that quick.

“Varane was quick and now, is he losing his legs a little bit? They have to rely on that pace a little bit.

“The manager emphasised how much he missed a settled back four and a holding midfielder – I still don’t think he’s got that. He’s had too many players that have been inconsistent and out of form so it’s very difficult for him to pick a team that is in form and that can do the job.”

United returned to Manchester in the early hours of the morning and the plan had been for those who travelled to have a day off on Thursday, before preparation begins for Saturday’s home date against Luton Town.

Whether Ten Hag sticks to that plan remains to be seen though the Dutchman will be sorely tempted to get his players in and try to ensure results like that at Parken Stadium do not happen again.

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