Ex-Manchester United defender and top pundit Gary Neville has explained exactly where his former team were ‘killed’ on the pitch at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, resulting in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of reigning Premier League champions Chelsea.
“I thought they got killed in midfield,” Neville told Sky Sports in no uncertain terms afterwards.
“Jose Mourinho, since the Liverpool game, has talked about not being able to freshen it up. I thought Herrera, Matic and Mkhitaryan got absolutely ambushed,” he added.
“N’Golo Kante was doing his job brilliantly, Tiemoue Bakayoko was running off him, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas were dropping in and controlling the match. United were just well short in that area. If you dominate midfield in the big games, you’re in business and Chelsea did.”
United substitute Marouane Fellaini made an impact when he came on in the second half for his first appearance since injury, almost grabbing a late equaliser with a chest and volley, but Neville feels that Paul Pogba’s injury absence is still being felt badly.
“I think Pogba is a big miss because of his confidence and arrogance. He takes the ball into tight areas, holds the ball, beats a man,” the retired defender explained.
“Michael Carrick, too – he delivers those passes up to strikers, to the side of defenders, and I think those two players would have made a big difference.”
Despite the defeat, United remain second in the Premier League table. But third place Tottenham have closed the gap to just goal difference, while Manchester City’s win against Arsenal earlier in the day has seen them extended their lead at the top to eight points.