Michael Carrick’s reign as Manchester United interim manager got off to an excellent start following Tuesday’s impressive 2-0 Champions League win at Villarreal, but several questions still need answering for whoever is in the dugout for Sunday’s trip to Premier League leaders Chelsea…
De Gea still being overworked
Even in victory, many of Manchester United’s familiar problems were on show as Villarreal had the better chances for an hour on Tuesday, with David de Gea making two strong saves to deny Manu Trigueros.
Having absorbed plenty of pressure, the eventual clean sheet was only their third of the campaign after 26 matches. Carrick, or whoever the new interim head coach will be, knows his side cannot rely on De Gea’s exploits all the time.
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Such an approach is not sustainable and all the best teams do not call upon their goalkeeper with such regularity.
Defensive issues have been the primary issue behind this recent slump, but the fact that United won a league-high 31 points from losing positions last term suggests the attacking strengths have been propping defensive weaknesses for some time.
United rank 17th in the Premier League with 21 goals conceded and are the most error-prone side in the division – along with Arsenal.
Interestingly, United are beginning to rank very poorly for points lost from winning positions, having ceded five already – which could be an indication that the tide is turning and the customary comebacks are waning.