Paul Parker: Van Gaal's failure to address defensive frailties proving costly

Phil Jones crop

Former Manchester United player Paul Parker has had his say on the club's ongoing defensive problems.

United's wretched record away from home continued last night after they drew 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns.

It was a story that has become all too familiar with United fans as defensive errors proved decisive in both goals. Van Gaal's star-studded side were made to chase the match twice, and were fortunate to come out of the game with a point with both equalisers coming from individual moments of brilliance from Marouane Fellaini and Daley Blind.

Paul Parker, who made 105 appearances for United between 1991-96, believes United's current defenders are not good enough, and until the problem is addressed the club can forget about title glory.

He wrote in his Eurosport column: "I’ve said it before; it doesn’t matter how much they have spent and how many great players they have brought in, they won’t win the league so long as they fail to address the defensive situation.

"They are scraping by. It was two points dropped again last night. You always know now that, with what they have in an attacking sense, they’re going to score.

"But the biggest problem they have now is that they are always going to give goals away. They have players coming back and defenders getting fit again, but the truth is that those defenders are simply not good enough. They’re not good enough to help Manchester United win Premier League titles."

Parker also criticised Van Gaal for playing Phil Jones at centre-back, which is the position many believe to be the 22-year-old's strongest. The former United man believes Jones is too irresponsible to play at the heart of United defence and adds that playing him in that position is 'dicing with death'.

"If you play Phil Jones at centre-half then you’re dicing with death. You have to wonder why he charged out of his back line when there was a forward behind him on Monday night, but he did it and West Brom scored their second of the evening.

Phil Jones was once tipped to become United's greatest ever player by legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson, but he doesn't appear to have progressed or stepped up in recent times and that has led many to question whether he will ever fulfil his potential with the Red Devils.

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