Danny Murphy suggests 'something has to give' at Old Trafford

Danny Murphy

Former Fulham captain Danny Murphy says "something has to give" if Manchester United want to challenge for the Premier League title again.

After having his say on BBC's Match of the Day Two, he continued to expand on his analysis of Manchester United's defensive problems in their 5-3 defeat by Leicester City.

His main criticism revolved the deficiencies in the club's back-four. "What went so wrong? Well, United's defence lacked leadership, experience and quality."

Despite spending over £200 million on new additions during the summer window, the club still lack a commanding centre-half. The Red Devils attempted to land World Cup winner Mats Hummels but saw their efforts thwarted by Jurgen Klopp, as he named the 25-year-old as Dortmund captain before the start of the new season.

Nonetheless, Murphy also highlighted the defence's lack of protection from midfield. "The balance of the team was all wrong. We already knew Louis van Gaal's squad was top-heavy with superb attacking talent but this game was the first time we have seen that it does not matter how dangerous they are going forward if they cannot defend."

Former Ajax midfielder Daley Blind played a holding-midfield role in Louis Van Gaal's diamond midfield system, but he found himself left susceptible at times, with the club's array of attacking players offering little in the way of support. Nonetheless, Murphy reserved praise for the Dutchman's efforts.

"Blind was trying his best and he is clearly a good player but, when you are isolated like he was, then playing as a holding midfielder is really tough. You just cannot cover the width of the pitch on your own."

Ultimately, Murphy believes Louis Van Gaal's tactics are to blame. Had he set-up his side with greater emphasis on protecting the back-four, the final scoreline would have been different. Although this is easier said than done, considering the multitude of world class attackers the Dutch head coach has at his disposal. 

"Tactically, United were naïve," he said. "That, on top of the inexperience of some of their players, combined to make them so bad at the back that, every time Leicester went forward in the second half, it felt like they could have scored."

"Playing another holding midfielder would give the back four more protection but that gives him the problem of fitting in all of his big-name attackers."

"Something has to give, though, otherwise this sort of defeat will happen again. From what we saw against Leicester, United have got a long way to go before they are challenging for the title again, and it is going to be a scrap for them to get into the top four."

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