May 13, 2021

Man Utd

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Gary Neville tells Solskjaer how to fix Manchester United’s biggest problem

3 min read

Gary Neville believes Manchester United need to look for more forward passes if they are to beat teams playing against a low block.

United’s pace in attack means many of their opponents tend to sit deep and try and frustrate them, which has often seen the Reds struggling to break defensive teams down.

Granada tried doing something similar in Thursday evening’s Europa League clash but ultimately succumbed to a 2-0 defeat.

Neville believes the first goal in the game, which saw Marcus Rashford run onto a Victor Lindelof pass before finishing past the goalkeeper, was the perfect example of how to beat a low block.


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“Sometimes they pass it too slowly across the pitch and don’t play forward,” Neville said in a Twitter Q&A.

“Last night (was a) perfect case and then as soon as Lindelof plays a forward pass/Rashford run we score.

“Play higher tempo and into strikers in (the) first part of games.”

Neville has previously spoken about how he views this as the next stage in United’s development under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Speaking after United’s victory over West Ham last month, which saw the Reds put in a lacklustre first-half display against a defensive position, Neville argued it is a case of having more players who can unlock a defence.

“We know what Manchester United are: they do struggle to break down teams, if you think about how City dismantle teams who sit deep against them, United aren’t capable of that yet and it has been something we can quite obviously see, when they play on the counter-attack, they’re a lot better.

“We know what Manchester United are: they do struggle to break down teams, if you think about how City dismantle teams who sit deep against them, United aren’t capable of that yet and it has been something we can quite obviously see, when they play on the counter-attack, they’re a lot better.

“It’s about having higher quality in the final third. If you think about the compact nature of all teams now when they want to be, particularly the teams in the bottom half, you just need fantastic players. If you look at City – Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, Foden, Mahrez – they have five or six of them.

“I can only really think of Fernandes and Pogba who can open a defence up in tight situations, the rest of them rely upon space to operate.

“Maybe Greenwood can do it, but generally, you look at City, they’ve got five or six and if two of them are injured then there’s always someone who can unlock the door elsewhere in the team.”

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He added: “For United, if it’s not Fernandes, then maybe it’s Luke Shaw who’s the person who’s next and most likely to do something from an attacking point of view.

“They need to improve their quality in the final third, maybe up the speed of the game a little bit – they play too slowly against teams when they actually drop off against them.

“When they play against a top team like City last week, the speed of passing – because it has to be – is actually really good and they’ve got to get that into the game against teams that drop off and make it difficult for them.”

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