Football

Manchester United have problems at the back, say pundits

Keown criticises de Gea, while others urge club to sign a pacey centre-back to partner Maguire

Manchester United's 5-2 English Premier League victory over Bournemouth has had many purring over an exhilarating attack, but some pundits have pinpointed defence as an area of concern.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said goalkeeper David de Gea deserved a "rollicking", after Junior Stanislas scored the opening goal for the relegation battlers at Old Trafford on Saturday.

De Gea, who was castigated for his error that led to Steven Bergwijn's goal in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur following the EPL restart, was again deemed to be at fault by Keown.

United centre-back Harry Maguire was left with his tail between his legs as Stanislas nutmegged him with ease and beat de Gea at his near post to break the deadlock in the 15th minute.

"If that happened to me, (former Arsenal goalkeeper) David Seaman would be getting a bit of a rollicking," Keown told BBC's Match of the Day.

"It's a brilliant piece of skill and imagination from Stanislas, but the goalkeeper should do a bit better and, of course, Maguire will be unhappy as well."

However, former United stars Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand focused more on the need for a better centre-back partner for Maguire to make up for the United captain's lack of pace.

"Victor Lindelof has done all right, but Maguire with his lack of pace at times (can get caught)," Scholes said on BBC Radio 5 live.

"If he's got a really dominant centre-half next to him like a Ferdinand or Jaap Stam, who bullies centre forwards, that would be a big help to the team."

Added Ferdinand on BT Sport: "Liverpool are dominating because one of the things they have is that they can allow their team to push forward in droves because they have centre-halves who can play man to man.

"You would not back both Maguire and Lindelof winning a race to their goal from the half-way line. Having two like that can leave you open to counter-attack."

STRIKING SENSATION

Also much talked about following United's latest win is Mason Greenwood, after the 18-year-old forward bagged a brace and helped his team extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 16.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described the academy product as a "specialist finisher" after he took his tally in his breakthrough season to 15 goals in all competitions.

The victory left fifth-placed United with 55 points from 33 matches ahead of Friday morning's (Singapore time) EPL meeting with Aston Villa.

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