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Saturday, April 13, 2024

‘Non-existent’: Gary Neville thinks Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United are ‘one of the worst’ teams in one area

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There can’t be many Manchester United fans out there who enjoyed watching Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Brentford.

Beating Liverpool in the FA Cup was such a euphoric moment with Old Trafford absolutely bouncing after Amad Diallo’s dramatic winner.

The international break followed straight after, meaning United fans were left waiting for two weeks.

Supporters were hoping to see another huge performance against Brentford – but we saw the complete the opposite.

United were truly dreadful down in West London and were very, very lucky to escape with a point.

Brentford were able to rack up more than 30 shots on the United goal as they cut through at will.

Mason Mount appeared to have completed a real smash-and-grab with a late goal, only for Brentford to go down the other end and finally find the net to claim a 1-1 draw.

Brentford FC v Manchester United - Premier League

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images


A point flattered United and the level of performance was simply not good enough for a United side looking to keep up with the Champions League race.

For as great as the win over Liverpool was, this is the kind of performance which will leave Ineos with major question marks over Erik ten Hag.

Pundit and former United star Gary Neville has now offered his view on the display whilst speaking on The Gary Neville Podcast.

Neville admitted that it’s genuinely worrying to see just how low United’s level of performance dropped against Brentford.

Neville feels that is actually ‘really difficult’ to play as badly as United did on Saturday, failing to anything well at any point in the game.

The former right back added that United are simply one of the worst teams around when it comes to playing without the ball, slamming a ‘non-existent’ reaction upon losing possession.

“I watched them last night and, I suppose like everyone else, I couldn’t believe what I was watching,” said Neville. “I thought that they would put a bit of pressure on Tottenham and Villa on the run-in. It’s actually really difficult to play that badly – honestly, it really is! Usually, whatever team you play against, even if you’re a top team, the other team will have five or ten minutes of play or of domination… Manchester United, I can’t think of any point in that game, maybe in the first five minutes, but I can’t think of any point in that game where they did anything well at all and it was a horrible performance, it really was.”

“I can’t even explain that performance, I have no idea where it comes from. It’s very worrying, very worrying that you can go to that level of low. You know you can play badly in football, you know you can have players missing, you know you can miss chances, you know that sometimes you don’t feel quiet right but that was a dismal, dismal effort – in an attempt to play football, in an attempt to work as hard as you possibly can.”

“When they give the ball away, Manchester United, their reaction to giving the ball away is non-existent compared to all the other teams that I see. They really are one of the worst teams that you can see out of possession, in terms of making it difficult,” he added.

United in bad company

Ten Hag’s United have been giving up chances all season long, leaving Andre Onana with far too much work to do between the sticks.

If you look at the table in terms of shots conceded in the Premier League this season, bottom club Sheffield United are the worst with 18.1 shots per game conceded.

Luton Town – another promoted side – are next with 17.3 shots per game and then it’s Manchester United with 17.2.

Let that sink in; United are giving up just about as many chances per game as Luton Town, a club fighting against relegation and were in the National League the last time United won the Premier League title.

At the other end of the scale is Manchester City at 8.2, Arsenal at 8.4, Aston Villa at 10.8 and Liverpool at 11.

United are so, so far away from those numbers and whilst Ten Hag has been grinding out results, the overall performance levels just aren’t good enough.

Ten Hag hasn’t found an answer to this problem all season long, and whilst he may point to injuries, it’s an issue which just cannot continue if United want to make any progress in the near future.

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