Ex-Newcastle legend turned TV pundit Alan Shearer believes Frank Lampard instructed his Chelsea side to target weak duo Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire during Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final.
Manchester United’s pursuit for FA Cup glory came to a sudden and disappointing halt after an embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Chelsea in the cup’s second semi-final.
Goalkeeper David de Gea was largely at fault for two of Chelsea’s three goals, however, Shearer believes there were two other players which United’s opponents deliberately targeted yesterday.
Speaking on BBC One, as quoted by Express, Shearer believes a major weakness for United could be centre back pairing Lindelof and maguire, he said: “I’m pretty sure they would look at it and look at those two centre-halves and think: ‘Right, okay they’re very good with the ball in front of them, where perhaps might they struggle?’
“With the ball in and around their feet, with good movement in and around them, sharp movement, and Chelsea did that.
“The run from Giroud is fantastic, he just gets across Lindelof and he reacts too late.
“It’s brilliant centre-forward play to react the quickest and Lindelof can’t get there to get the touch on it.
“But I’m pretty sure that Chelsea would have looked at that and thought: ‘How can we cause them problems?’.
“And that would have been one of the ways and they did.”
Solskjaer opted to deploy a rarely seen five at the back system which featured De Gea in goal, full-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams and a centre back trio of Eric Bailly alongside Maguire and Lindelof.
The system failed to work as United were on the back foot right from the get-go and were seemingly powerless to resist Chelsea’s relentless press and urgency when both on and off the ball.
United will now be looking ahead to their crucial midweek game against West Ham in the Premier League as Solskjaer and his side look for one final push in their challenge to secure Champions League football next season.