Paul Scholes has angrily criticised two Manchester United players for their part in RB Leipzig’s crucial third goal as the Red Devils crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday night.
United went into the game knowing they just had to avoid defeat to go through. However, they soon found themselves with a mountain to climb.
Leipzig scored two goals within the first 13 minutes, before extending their lead to three in the second half. United pulled two goals back late on, but they could not complete a comeback and therefore drop into the Europa League.
After the game, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to blame individuals. But the United boss did give an honest assessment over where it went wrong. The game that many will look to is the loss in Turkey to Istanbul Basaksehir.
Scholes, however, was less forgiving. Speaking to BT Sport, he was raging at the United rearguard for their roles in Leipzig’s third. With the ball fired across goal, some static defending and a slow reaction from David De Gea allowed Justin Kluivert to fire in.
“You never felt they were going to create enough chances to come back into the game.
“David De Gea here… he bottles it. He’s scared of getting himself hurt. He makes himself smaller, it’s criminal.”
"He bottled it. He was scared of getting himself hurt."
"He makes himself smaller, it's criminal."
Paul Scholes was not impressed with David De Gea's goalkeeping for RB Leipzig's third goal. pic.twitter.com/Iyd7GKZlBr
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 8, 2020
“You should never go across your box like that. Harry Maguire is wooden and stiff and De Gea, as a goalkeeper you come out and make yourself as big as you can.
“You might get smashed in the face or get injured but he turns his back away. He actually makes himself smaller. It’s criminal for such an experienced goalkeeper.”
De Gea has retained his place as United’s No 1 despite the return of Dean Henderson from Sheffield United. His part in the third goal, however, will only raise questions over his future between the sticks.
Solskjaer claims United ‘started too late’
Solskjaer, meanwhile, was left to rue what might have been after the 3-2 defeat.
Trailing 3-0, United only really got going again in the second half. And while the scoreline finished 3-2, had they claimed a draw, it would have masked a poor performance.
“We started too late,” he admitted to BT Sport, in reference to their slow start.
“It’s different to the Premier League, you can’t give a team a three-goal lead and expect to come back. We were unlucky towards the end and you almost thought it was in at the last minute there.
“Of course you can’t say we were good enough, we weren’t. In a difficult group of course, the big defeat for us was the one away to Istanbul – that’s where we lost the points we should have had.
“Today we were close but we knew we had to defend crosses and balls into the box and we just couldn’t clear them.
“As a footballer you can’t feel sorry for yourself. You feel sorry for a few minutes tonight and then we focus on a massive game on Saturday.”
The draw for the Europa League takes place in December 14.