Manchester United’s defence did not cover themselves in glory in yesterday’s defeat to Chelsea. David De Gea has become the subject of the most fierce criticism but former Old Trafford defender Paul Parker has blasted the defenders in front of him for their poor performances.
Victor Lindelof was easily outfoxed by Olivier Giroud for the opener and Parker feels that the Swede should have done better.
“In situations like that you have to have your shoulder in front of the person trying to attack the near post,” Parker said exclusively on this week’s Talking Devils podcast. “It’s a matter of positional sense. You then have everyone saying it’s De Gea’s fault because it goes in the near post. He could have done better, but he got caught out because his defender allowed the man to get in front of him. He tried to get contact on the ball but it had a lot of spin on it. To dig him out for that is petty. People are trying to pin all of the goals on him [De Gea].”
Parker then went on to explain that he felt Harry Maguire had one of his poorest games for the club and suggested that maybe the former Leicester man might not be of the required quality to help United make the step up they are trying to do under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“Both of the centre-halves were very poor,” said Parker. “Maybe neither of them are good enough. At the start of the game Bailly was the most composed. He had to go off the pitch because United’s captain and leader decides to go for a ball… I don’t know why he went for it. Bailly had his man. You want the last man to be there to deal with the flick on. For some reason Maguire decided he wanted to take responsibility and leave this gaping hole that Lindelof couldn’t have made up if he wanted to. He ends up cracking Bailly in the back of the head.
“The formation went to pot from that moment because of the change. Nobody’s even talked about what an impact that had. An £80m defender who doesn’t [seem to] have any positional sense. He doesn’t understand playing in the middle. That was the start of a nightmare for Maguire. In the second half, Reece James runs down the touchline and I couldn’t believe Maguire doesn’t open his body up. He’s got the movement of a JCB. He tried to change from an amble to a sprint because he was caught out. It comes back in and then it goes in off him. But he started that by being in the wrong place in the wrong time again. It’s too many times now.”
Parker did express his empathy at the difficulty in playing for United as opposed to playing for other clubs but also said he felt that handing Maguire the captaincy might have been premature.
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