Wes Brown insists Manchester United have a better chance of securing passage into the Champions League last 16 against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night than RB Leipzig next week, but warned them they must improve defensively to do so.
United need just one more point to qualify from Group H and have won their last four games across all competitions, while the French champions have claimed victory in just two of their last five fixtures.
The Old Trafford’s side’s defensive issues were palpable in the first half of the win against Southampton, going 2-0 down before an Edinson Cavani-inspired fightback saw them emerge 3-2 winners at St Mary’s.
Wes Brown insists Harry Maguire and Man United’s defence must improve to beat PSG
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men need just one point to qualify for the Champions League last 16
And former United defender Brown – who praised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for adding Donny van de Beek to revive the midfield in recent weeks – believes another win against an ‘underachieving’ PSG following their 2-1 success in Paris in October could be on the cards if they shore up the backline.
‘United have got a better chance of picking up some points here than the away game at RB Leipzig [in their final group game],’ Brown said.
‘PSG at the moment are probably not at their best. United have been doing ok, I know Ole has been changing the team a lot in the last couple of games. He has got a lot out of the three in the midfield by bringing Donny in. You can see there is a different style of play.
‘I think United are more than capable of getting a point with a PSG team that is underachieving at the moment. The way they have been playing, even when they went 2-0 down against Southampton, I didn’t feel like they were getting battered in the game, I always felt they felt comfortable.
But defensive issues were seen before Edinson Cavani inspired them to beat Southampton
And Brown insists if they rectify that they can overcome an ‘underachieving’ PSG side
‘They definitely need to tighten up the defence in that situation, and you could say that has been happening all season. I do feel like they have controlled games and created chances and they are putting those chances away at the moment.
‘If they can shut shop at the back I think the team has shown going forward that they are more than capable of scoring.’
United have been imperious in Europe at Old Trafford this season, beating Leipzig by five goals without conceding before recording a 4-1 victory against Istanbul Basaksehir last week.
However, Solskjaer’s men have been unable to recreate that magic domestically and have secured victory in just one of their five top-flight matches at Old Trafford and lost to the Crystal Palace, Tottenham and Arsenal.
He added the uniqueness of the Champions League is behind their good home form in Europe
Brown admits he is stumped as to their failure to convert European home dominance into good domestic home form but admitted the ‘uniqueness’ of playing the continent’s best sides in the Champions League may be the motive behind the players stepping up their game.
‘In the Premier League it has not quite happened especially for the start of the season and the first game at home [against Crystal Palace],’ Brown added.
‘They have not really looked comfortable but for some reason in Europe they have rustled together and the lads have all got together and produced.
‘Maybe it is the uniqueness of the competition that it is and the lads have stepped up and they do need to do that going forward in the Premier League. I just think with the way they are going into games, they will be looking forward to this game [against PSG].’
Bruno Fernandes and co have won both home European ties but struggled domestically
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