Football

Gary Neville Worried About Jadon Sancho's United Career After System Change

Gary Neville Worried About Jadon Sancho's United Career After System Change

Manchester United showed some signs of life yesterday. After a long week in which every aspect of the club's setup was questioned, they did well to bounce back with a win in London yesterday.

It remains to be seen if that result was determined more by the putrid form of Spurs or some sort of resurgence from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, but it is fair to say they looked much more organised than they did against Liverpool the previous week.

That was helped by a change in shape, with United moving to 3-5-2 formation. They also abandoned the haphazard press that had cost them so dearly in the Liverpool and Leicester City games and reverted to a counterattacking style.

Speaking on Sky Sports after yesterday's game, Gary Neville said that he had not idea why it had taken Ole Gunnar Solskjaer so long to use the type of defensive system that they had experienced success with over the last couple of seasons.

I don't know why it has taken so long for the coaching staff to demand that (hard work in defence) or for the players to step and do it, which ever way you want to look at it. It shouldn't take that much.

But they have certainly done something today that they haven't done all season, and that's look like half a team without the ball...

It has proved today that they can put some sort of performance together. Why are Manchester United pressing Liverpool? What happened last Sunday and why for one second did they think they could press Liverpool Football Club having watched them for the last four years?

They've gone into a game today and played in the only way that this group of Manchester United players can, and the only way that this coach can play these players. They've played like that for three years, on the counterattack and in moments.

It was a decent start, but it doesn't let anybody off the hook. They've got a game against Atalanta on Wednesday and a game against City on Saturday. That will still put massive pressure on the manager if they go back to how they were.

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While it is clear this style of player is better suited to United's squad, is the 3-5-2 formation the only way to achieve it? After all, the likes of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, and Jadon Sancho all found themselves left on the bench yesterday, while Paul Pogba will also return to the squad in the weeks ahead.

Sancho is the one that could suffer the most. He arrived at Old Trafford last summer for a huge price tag after a long transfer saga but has had little impact at the club. He has found himself increasingly left out of the side as a result, something that is only likely to become more common if Solskjaer uses a formation without wingers going forward.

Neville admitted that he is worried Sancho's United career could go the way of Donny van de Beek in the months ahead.

Sancho if he's not careful is going to end up exactly the same (as van de Beek). He has played in some fairly appalling performances, I mean team performances.

He has come into a club that looks completely disjointed in terms of their football. He has played at a far better team and unit in Dortmund. He has probably come in here and think 'what am I in here, what is this?'

There is no organisation, there is no structure, the defensive work rate is poor. He is actually the only player, when you look at the defensive running stats of Manchester United's players, that has got anywhere near (other players at big clubs)...

He has put a shift in. He must be sat on this bench today thinking 'what am I doing?'

Now he's thinking where he players in that system. I don't see him playing in a three in midfield and I don't see him playing in a two up front.

He is probably thinking where his career is at Manchester United, van de Beek is thinking the same. Today has been a good day for Manchester United, but there are problems elsewhere.

The Tottenham performance may have been a good one, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team still have plenty of questions to answer going forward.

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Gary Connaughton
Article written by
Beleaguered Westmeath man, constantly trying to recreate the buzz of the 2004 Leinster final replay.

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