Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof make the former England centre-back “fear for his life” in certain situations
Manchester United legends Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes do not believe the club have a defence that can allow them to win major trophies.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have made a promising start in the Champions League, scoring wins over Paris Saint-Germain and on Wednesday against RB Leipzig, but they are not seen as challengers for the crown, according to two players who have won it in the past.
The heart of the Red Devils’ defence is the area they cite as being a problem, largely because they are not imposing enough.
“Is it good enough? I’d probably say no, if you’re trying to win the top competitions,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “Yes, last season they had a good defensive record, but I just see moments in games where they get opened up, they get physically dominated at times, especially in terms of pace, especially if their protection isn’t what you’d expect it to be if the game opens up a little bit.
“If the game opens up and they’re on the halfway line and they’re playing one versus one or two versus two, then I fear for my life in that situation. If the team shape is fine and it’s all set up properly, then they look a decent pairing.”
Scholes echoed the thoughts of the former England centre-back, saying the the current crop of United defenders are only capable if they are well-shielded by the midfielders in front of them.
“When they have the two [Fred and Scott McTominay] in front of them, they look different,” he pointed out.
“You’re a defender for a reason, you’re supposed to be OK one-on-one, sometimes it can take away the attacking side of the team which it has done in the last couple of games, especially against Chelsea on Saturday. Fred and McTominay have definitely made them look better players, and they’ll prefer that.”
While United have made a strong start in Europe, they have not been as convincing domestically and lie 15th in the early Premier League standings with just a couple of wins to their credit. They tackle Arsenal at home on Sunday while their next Champions League outings are a double header against Istanbul Basaksehir.