Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra disagreed with Gary Neville over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team selection against Chelsea, claiming he should have stuck with a back-three system and kept Axel Tuanzebe in the side.
Solskjaer reverted to the same XI that beat Newcastle 4-1 last Saturday despite United having since recorded an infinitely more impressive 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
That has seen a return to a back-four system, with Alex Telles and Tuanzebe dropping out and captain Harry Maguire returning to the centre of defence/
Tuanzebe’s absence from the XI, especially given United’s poor defensive record this season, is one that caused plenty of surprise on social media and with Evra — but not with Nevile.
“I think the back five he’s picked is who he trusts most,” Neville told Sky Sports ahead of kick-off. “With Maguire fit, he’s felt comfortable to go back to the back four. It’s the one you’d expect Ole to pick, I know the team did very well in Paris, but that certainly is the chosen five that he would always go with.”
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Evra disagreed over the formation and the omission of Tuanzebe, though, claiming that United’s lack of quality at centre-back suits a three-back formation.
“I am surprised,” Evra said in response to Neville. “I know the back four is United’s DNA, but the way we concede goals with five at the back – or three — because people say it’s five, but it’s more like a 3-4-3.
“Right now, I don’t think we have any centre-backs who can deal every game in one-v-ones apart from Axel Tuanzebe. I think he had a great performance against PSG.
“So, that’s why he (Solskjaer) is talking about rewarding players [in his pre-match interview], but what about playing the best players? But we’re behind him and we trust him.”