Manchester United Football Club lost away at Newcastle United on Sunday, with Jose Mourinho’s men succumbing to a 1-0 defeat that they couldn’t do anything about.
The Red Devils looked way off the pace from minute one, and things were summed up perfectly by Chris Smalling in the second-half. He dived to give away a free-kick in a dangerous position, before he and Phil Jones made a mess of it in the penalty area allowing Matt Ritchie to strike home.
Afterwards, former Red Phil Neville was scathing in his attack of the pair and rightfully so. The last two games Smalling and Jones have played together, they’ve been nothing short of atrocious and right now, it’s costing Manchester United vital points and momentum.
‘They have got the best defensive record because they have the best goalkeeper in the world in David de Gea and (Nemanja) Matic out in front who protects them really well. ” Neville told Match of the Day viewers, per the Daily Mail.
‘But the last two away games (against Tottenham and Newcastle), Smalling and Jones have been a disaster.”
‘They were making decisions that were strange, they were making decisions all day where you were thinking: “What are you doing?”‘
It was schoolboy stuff at times. Against Spurs, Harry Kane just had his way with them for 90 minutes, positionally they were awful, and you expect your centre-backs to lead from the back. Neither is capable of doing that.
Personally, some drastic changes are needed at the centre-back position. Yes, Eric Bailly’s return will go a long way to helping solve things, but the fact that these guys are consistently getting picked over Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof tells you just how bad we’re looking in a vital area of the field.