‘United defence lacks control’

Gary Neville

Gary Neville thinks Manchester United’s defence lacks "control" and consistency.

United may be on course for Champions League qualification but their defensive vulnerabilities have been exposed on many occasions this season and they have relied heavily on the excellent form of goalkeeper David de Gea.

United concede an average of around a goal a game and have the fewest number of clean sheets in the top five.

Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans have taken the brunt of criticism, but Neville feels they will improve if their injury problems subside.

“With the likes of Smalling, Jones and Evans we still have great hopes for that penny to drop,” the former United captain told fanzine Stretty News.

“They’re still developing and picking up injuries but when they stop and the penny drops you think: ‘We’ve lived with his faults, development and now we’re getting the benefit of it.’

“There is no doubt that Jones, Smalling and (Luke) Shaw have talent but they need experience, maturity and injuries to stay clear and they will fly.”

De Gea has rescued United on several occasions this season, most notably against Tottenham, Everton and Stoke.

And he showed his worth again on Saturday at Loftus Road when he denied Charlie Austin in United’s 2-0 win over QPR. The constant changing of players in front of De Gea has not helped United, according to Neville.

“When I look at the United defence what it lacks is control,” Neville said.

“I see players that have talent but they’re all individually working, not having controlled movements together of in-sync. That comes from playing together.

“The reason that Chelsea have the best back four in the league is because they have good players, they play every week without many injuries.

“United have been absolutely blitzed with injuries in those positions for the last three years. At times they look all out at sea.”


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