Former Spain Under-21s coach Gabino Rodriguez has slammed Manchester United’s defensive strength under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, dubbing it ‘softer than a muffin’.
Significant improvements have been shown this season but there is still plenty of room for growth at United, while there is also continued debut around a number of positions in the squad.
Between the sticks is one of them, with Solskjaer due to make a crucial decision this summer on whether to select Dean Henderson or David de Gea as his first-choice stopper — or make a different move entirely to land a new candidate.
If the former is chosen, De Gea‘s decade at Old Trafford is likely to come to an end on the back of disappointment having conceded all 11 penalties in the Europa League final shootout defeat to Villarreal.
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However, Rodriguez, De Gea’s former coach at U21 level, believes De Gea has been put in a bad light due to the defensive frailties ahead of him.
“I always believe the team is a true reflection of the character of its coach. Look at the one led by Sir Alex Ferguson and that would show no mercy. Ole’s team is softer than a muffin and David is suffering the consequences of the defensive frailties,” Rodriguez told The Sun.
“You need to protect your best asset in the team, but there is just an uncontrolled mess between midfield and defence with gaps.
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“Basically Ole’s team has a brutal defensive weakness. The two centre-backs are too slow, they are not commanding and other teams are well aware of it.
“The big problem is Solskjaer’s tactical organisation. United’s defensive deficiencies are undervaluing De Gea and Ole just doesn’t convince me.
“In the old days, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes not only dictated games, but did the dirty work and were the defensive backbone. In Ole’s team, Edinson Cavani is the best defender!”