Match of the Day pundits Alex Scott and Stephen Warnock were disappointed that Mason Greenwood failed to take his chance in Manchester United’s starting XI against Crystal Palace.
Handed a start against Palace on Wednesday, it was hoped that he could reinvigorate a tired and somewhat insipid United attack that has struggled to create and score in recent weeks.
Greenwood, though, like the rest of his attacking team-mates on the night, struggled to have an impact on the game, and Scott and Warnock questioned his desire.
“They struggled on the right-hand side tonight,” Warnock said on BBC’s Match of the Day. “Daniel James usually brings them a nice energy.
“Greenwood looked like he didn’t want the opportunity and didn’t really want to stamp his authority to say, ‘Well, I want to keep on playing every single week.'”
Scott said: “What’s next? What’s the next idea? Greenwood, having those opportunities, when you’re starting in the line-up, grabbing that shirt and making it hard to be taken out of that. I don’t think anyone did that for Manchester United this evening.”
Warnock and Scott also questioned the overall efficacy of United’s attacking system, especially if and when the players are fatigued and Bruno Fernandes is not on-song.
“I think there’s [sic] quite a few things [that have caused their poor run]. Manchester United have been inconsistent for a number of years now. I don’t think they have the players to compete at that top level,” Warnock said. “They are desperately seeking a world-class number nine, Cavani is a magnificent player but he doesn’t get the service and doesn’t make it happen.
“Bruno Fernandes looks fatigued. Rashford plays well at times, but again, is inconsistent. And it almost seems like whenever Bruno Fernandes drops off, United drop off completely up-front.”
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Manchester United were held to a 0-0 draw by Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players were frustrated for the third goalless game in succession, dropping more points to allow Man City to streak away at the Premier League’s summit, on a poor day for the forwards.
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Scott, meanwhile, said that United need a plan B.
“Ole has spoken about how he wants his United team to be quick on the attack, have these fast attacking players,” she said. “He normally uses terms like ‘magic’, ‘a bit of zip’, and ‘exploiting spaces’. But, then, what is your plan B? When your team is a little fatigued. When a team like Crystal Palace isn’t giving you that space because they’re so organised.
“That’s when today, they come unstuck because they lack ideas. What’s next? And I think that’s where they’ve struggled over the last couple of games.”