Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand have both been left “flabbergasted” by the way Manchester United defend, with the former suggesting the players need coaching through games.
With the stuttering Red Devils sat 15th in the Premier League, their impressive return to European football’s top table has provided much-needed positivity.
United followed the deserved 2-1 victory at last season’s Champions League finalists PSG by stunning RB Leipzig 5-0. But it does not take long for pressure to ratchet up at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer knows about those expectations better than anyone and faces increasing scrutiny after Sunday’s uninspiring 1-0 home loss to Arsenal was followed up by a chastening 2-1 defeat at Istanbul Basaksehir.
That defeat was made to look all the more alarming by the ease in which the Turkish side netted their opener. A long punt up field left Demba Ba with the freedom of the park to stroke home. It left Scholes and Ferdinand completely bemused – and angry beyond words.
“Surely you always have someone back on the halfway line, they’re pointing at Matic. You’re always goal-side, it’s like Under 10s football,” Scholes told BT Sport.
“You can understand if it’s last minute but it’s the first 10 minutes, it’s embarrassing.
“They’ve struggled with them attacking wise, they’ve gone with one holding player today. Defensively they’re all over the place.
35-year-old Demba Ba scores against Manchester United on a one-man counter-attack…
Yes, this really happened 🤯 pic.twitter.com/YCDqlFqbyj
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 4, 2020
“The defenders have to be better, forward play could be better as well. Defensively they’ve got to take responsibility. You have to defend one-on-one sometimes when you’re at Manchester United (but) they seem incapable of doing it.”
Joining in with the debate, Ferdinand could hardly keep his anger under a lid.
“Where is the organisation in this team? You wouldn’t see this on Hackney Marshes!”
Scholes takes Martial to the cleaners
Despite his goal, Scholes was also furious at Anthony Martial for “doing nothing” when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were in possession.
“The amount of times they gave the ball away, made bad decisions, trying to beat a man. Paul Pogba when he came on he was trying to beat a man, trying to hold someone off instead of passing and keep it moving.
“The movement from the centre forwards was virtually non-existent. Anthony Martial the amount of times I looked up when a midfielder had the ball he was just stood in between the two centre halves doing nothing.
“It was just a real lack of quality, for me, I’m trying to find a reason for it. But at the end of the day I think they were in good positions. But the final bit, the quality was really, really lacking.”