After a stunning start to his time as Manchester United’s interim manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has faced an extremely difficult spell with United in catastrophic form. In fact, ever since his spell in charge was made permanent, United have conceded a lot of goals. This will be the focus of this tactical analysis as I’ll highlight Manchester United defensive problems and why Solskjær needs to improve the defensive structure of his side to solve these problems.
The situation: statistics
It’s been clear lately that United have defended very poorly compared to only six weeks ago. The statistics back this up; in Solskjær’s first nineteen games in charge, United conceded seventeen goals. In the eight since his appointment was made permanent, they’ve conceded sixteen. They kept seven clean sheets in those first nineteen games compared with none after Solskjær became the permanent manager during the international break in March.
It seems incredible that a team that impressed defensively and kept clean sheets against Chelsea and Liverpool now find themselves consistently being played right through the spine of their team. Teams like West Ham, Watford and Wolves have all deserved to score more than they have in games against United. It’s not like United have been exploited for being a lot more attacking and looking to outscore the opponent, as United are without a goal in open play for about a month, but United have simply been extremely poor both in attack and in defence.
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