Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick has concerns with how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are playing at the moment.
A number of Reds are probably waking up from hangovers after last night’s dramatic win over Atalanta in the Champions League, to jump to first in Group F after a shoddy start to the campaign – but Chadwick is not getting carried away.
Of course, he was pleased to see United improve in the second half, as the Red Devils came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
However, the 4-2 defeat to Leicester City last weekend is still living in the memory, as well as the fact United haven’t played well enough all season.
Chadwick believes Solskjaer needs to fix his team’s shape when they don’t have possession of the ball.
“It looks like the norm is when the club needs a result, Ole needs a result, the team come through in the end,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside. “It was a poor first half, no real structure to the side. Atalanta scored two goals and probably could’ve had a couple more. United had good chances, Rashford clipped the bar just before half time.
“But then it was a fantastic second half, end-to-end stuff, both teams had chances but it was that man again on the spot to win it after a wonderful cross from Luke Shaw.
“Whatever was said at half time, Ole deserves praise. He was under pressure after recent results. But it was a really strong second half performance.
“The issue with this team is when they get out of shape. It can be too easy for teams to get at United’s back four. Against Leicester, some players were pressing high, others were dropping deep, and it just ended up being so easy to play through.
“Particularly in home games, they’ve got to attack, but when they lose the ball it seems so easy to get at United. Atalanta created more chances in the second half but couldn’t take them, and thankfully United got away with it with a goal in the last ten minutes.”
Although United were poor in the first half, I felt at half-time we could’ve been 3-2 ahead, given the chances we squandered before the interval.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s winner proved crucial.
Chadwick added that it is Ronaldo’s hunger and desire that sets him apart at the highest level.
“When you look at Ronaldo, it’s that hunger, that desire to be the very best, and remembered as the best,” Chadwick added. “Even at 36 years of age he’s still in incredible shape. The team might have to change a bit with the way he plays that number 9 position.
“We probably need more of a discussion about what the team looks like out of possession, because we know when we’re in possession, if you give him chances he’ll score. I think that’s 103 goals in his last 100 Champions League games now, some incredible stats.
“And you can see the emotion from him at the end, and the relief that they got the result at the end of the day. I think that desire keeps driving him on and on.”