Paul Scholes says Manchester United regularly lack creativity because their sub-par defence means they often have to set their midfield up in a conservative manner.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer once again picked two holding midfielders for United’s home game against West Brom as they looked to end their poor run of form at Old Trafford.
United legend Scholes believes the two-man holding midfield set-up is fine for away matches when United attack on the counter, but that it should be a different story on home soil.
Scholes said: “The midfield they play is okay when you’re playing away from home when you have to get to the ball, you have to take the ball off people and can play on the counter-attack at times.
“I think at home, where you can have a lot of the ball, I don’t think the quality is quite there for the both of them.
“Whether it’s Fred and Matic or Fred and McTominay, they’re both good at sitting and controlling games of football, protecting the two centre-halves, which is really why they’re playing.
“That takes away from the attacking side of it. I feel a bit sorry for the forwards as they’re having to make their own chances.
“They’ve got great skill and they’re capable of doing it, get the ball to Fernandes, he’s a great passer of the ball, Martial can go past people and Rashford has great pace, but the two central midfield players, especially at Old Trafford, they’ve got to contribute more to the attacking side.”
He added: “The problem is we’ve got defenders who, one-on-one, aren’t very good at defending. So we need those two sitting players to protect the back four. There’s no reason why, at Old Trafford against West Brom, one holding midfielder shouldn’t be enough.
“It should be enough but they’re so worried about the centre-backs getting done one-on-one that he can’t afford to do that.”
Scholes was appearing on BT Sport alongside Rio Ferdinand, who agreed with his former teammate’s analysis.
Ferdinand said: “The main problem is that the two centre-half players need to be protected, that’s why he’s playing two central midfielders that are holding. Away from home is what suits Manchester United, protecting the back four, pressing and giving it to players who can create on the counter-attack. That seems to be the best way the team can play at the moment.”
Sign up to our free MUFC email newsletter
Get the latest breaking Manchester United transfer news and analysis every day direct to your inbox with our free MUFC newsletter
He added: “If you’ve not got a threat with a 30- or 40-yard pass from deep, teams don’t have to come out.
“When you played against our team with Scholesy, the opposition midfielders had to come out to get Scholesy as he’d hurt them from that distance – then we’d be able to play the forwards in behind.
“That’s the problem when you play the two sitters there, if one or two of them can’t pass then it makes it a bigger problem.”