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Paul Scholes highlights why Manchester United are not serious title contenders yet

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League
Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League
Joshua Ojele
ANALYST
Modified 23 Feb 2021
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Paul Scholes has highlighted the issues Manchester United are currently facing in the defense.

He said their defensive frailties are the reason why they can't be considered serious title contenders in the Premier League this season.

Speaking on BT Sport following Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday, Scholes criticized the Reds' defense.

“I think in the middle of defence, Lindelof especially, they lack authority. He can be bullied, sometimes he’s not strong enough. I think both [Lindelof and Harry Maguire] can be very timid. They don’t really command or bully centre-forwards, they don’t really demand from the rest of the team. I think these two positions in particular are massive for teams that are going to win the league.
“I think that’s what’s stopping them from being a team that can challenge for the league, or possibly the Champions League, challenge for the top trophies, let’s say.
“Everywhere else, I think their midfield and forward players are really exciting, he’s built a really exciting team that are capable of scoring goals.”

Paul Scholes outlines Manchester United’s defensive struggles

Manchester United have conceded 32 goals in the Premier League this season. Only Liverpool and Everton have conceded more amongst teams in the top half of the league table.

“You look right through the history of teams that have won the league. They are dominant and authoritative centre-halves. You think of Vincent Kompany at City, [Virgil] Van Dijk at Liverpool. They couldn’t win the league until they brought someone with authority at centre-back in.
“Can these two learn that? I’m not sure they can. I think Maguire will be okay, Lindelof is the one that worries me – he’s the one that seems to get bullied more often than not.
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“They’ve got Eric Bailly on the bench, a lot of people have called for him to have a chance. But the trouble with him, he comes in and plays a game, then you don’t see him again. He just cannot stay fit, he’s one of those players that just cannot get a run of games.
“You look at the defensive side, the two centre-halves, their argument will be: we’ve played Liverpool, we’ve played Manchester City and kept a clean sheet. Yeah, okay, they did. But when you look at the other side of it – the attacking side of the game, the attacking players completely went. They had to play two holding midfielders because they were worried about the centre-halves and possibly the goalkeeper.”

Manchester United will now take on Real Sociedad in the second leg of their Europa League round-of-32 tie on Wednesday evening.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have one foot firmly in the next round after a brace from Bruno Fernandes inspired the Reds to a 4-0 first-leg win.

Published 23 Feb 2021, 08:18 IST
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