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Defensive Coach or the Defence - What's wrong at Manchester United

The absence of Harry Maguire in that defence is plain to see. But what exactly is wrong with Manchester United the defensive coach or the defence?

Last updated: 16.07.2021
Defensive Coach or the Defence Whats wrong at Manchester United

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The absence of Harry Maguire in that defence is plain to see. People would wonder, "How great is Harry Maguire?" However, you can only see it when he isn't playing, that they are witnessing an extremely desperate defence. Since his infamous £80 million transfer from Leicester City in 2019, the British man has received much criticism, and there was an uproar after he had been arrested with aggravated assault and trying to bribe a policeman while on vacation in Mykonos, Greece, last summer.

However, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has remained by his captain throughout, and his decision seemed to be exonerated last week when a United defence without the injured captain was ripped apart by a demolished Liverpool side. Is it, however, that straightforward? Duncan Castles, the one and only, voiced the opposing viewpoint on the same day.

“‘Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Manchester United. Six home League defeats, 27 home League goals conceded with one home game still to play. Most home goals conceded for 51 years (with the most expensive defender in the history of the game in his team). ‘Progress’.”


What Castles suggests is that the problems are completely there, even if he is not playing. While Maguire had been on the field at Old Trafford, United conceded three goals four times during the season. And, though it was an even worse last week, Lindelof and Bailly could at least point to the fact that they had seldom operated together before; defensive relationships take time to develop.

Neither of Utd's existing central defenders compares to Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Jaap Stam, Steve Bruce, and Gary Pallister. But none of them is just as terrible as they seem to be at the moment, and the risk is that United will spend lots of money this season on a new partner for Maguire, only to have the same issues arise again. Both Maguire and Lindelof look better in their National teams as well as their previous clubs as well.

Even Henderson, who has come under a lot of criticism looked a much better keeper at Sheffield United than he does at Old Trafford. Even though Luke Shaw has been good this season, his replacement Alex Telles has been quite shaky, even though he had been the best player of Porto in the last couple of years.

Now all of these can’t just be mere accidents. They cannot all develop into bad players instantly. The complications with United’s defence go deeper than any individual.

It has to start with defensive coaches being recruited.  How does such a prominent club not have a single defensive expert on staff? There are two goalkeeping coaches at United, but no defensive coach. It's heinous and irresponsible. The Reds have conceded goals from set-pieces on several occasions this year. Even though this should be the easiest of all scenarios to plan a team for, accidents always happen. United lost to their traditional rivals last week due to two set-piece goals in the first half. Despite this, it remains unresolved. The fact that so many defenders and goalkeepers seem frail and unreliable must mean a coaching issue.

At this point, the most critical addition Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could bring this summer is a top-notch defensive coach.

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