Gary Neville: Three defenders who were better than Manchester United’s on Sunday – do stats back him up?

Manchester United legend Gary Neville raves about Chelsea duo John Terry and Gary Cahill, and is impressed with Manchester City’s summer signing Eliaquim Mangala.

Gary Neville has come down harsh on Manchester United’s failure to defend properly against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

The Red Devils were cruising in the Premier League contest and were 3-1 up on the hour mark, but in the final 30 minutes they conceded four goals and had a man sent off.

It was a spectacular collapse from United, and one that has seen manager Louis van Gaal’s defence being slammed right, left and centre. Club legend Neville, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest right-backs of all time, has also joined in.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the former England international claimed that United’s defenders were simply not tough enough to cope with the physically combative Leicester attackers.

While describing United’s defence as ‘soft-centred’, Neville pointed out three defenders from the Manchester City v Chelsea encounter who were better.

‘You saw out there today [in the Manchester City versus Chelsea match] that every time a ball went up to Diego Costa he was getting battered by [Eliaquim] Mangala and it was the same at the other end with John Terry and Gary Cahill’, he told Sky Sports. ‘I thought the midfield three for United and the back four got bullied’.

Neville does have a very valid point. John Terry and Gary Cahill were brilliant as usual, and on his debut for City Eliaquim Mangala showed why he cost them £32 million – in fact, the 23-year-old France international was even worthy of the ‘man of the match’ award (which went to his teammate James Milner).

  PositionTeamMatchError Lead To ShotError Lead To GoalDuel WonDuel LostTotal TackleWon TackleInterceptionTotal ClearanceMins Played
John Terry DF Chelsea Man City vs Chelsea 1 0 2 2 0 0 1 6 90
Gary Cahill DF Chelsea Man City vs Chelsea 0 0 1 3 1 1 0 5 90
Eliaquim Mangala DF Man City Man City vs Chelsea 0 0 14 3 6 4 1 4 90

However, the current United defence is in the process of getting used to playing together. The likes of Tyler Blackett and Marcos Rojo still need time to adapt to the Premier League, while Rafael da Silva and Chris Smalling have to step up their game.

United have faced criticisms of not signing a world-class centre-back following their defeat, but they can do nothing about it now. Van Gaal needs to work with the defenders he has and hope that he gets the desired results soon.

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