Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy has claimed that Manchester United’s defensive woes are a bit of a myth.
The Red Devils, who are sixth in the Premier League table, have conceded 32 goals in just 21 Premier League games this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the first top-flight manager since the league’s formation in 1888 to have won his first 5 games in all competitions by at least a 2-goal margin.
5-1 vs Cardiff
3-1 vs Huddersfield
4-1 vs Bournemouth
2-0 vs Newcastle
2-0 vs Reading
[via times] pic.twitter.com/NZW7HN4WAp
— Man Utd Channel (@ManUtdChannel) January 8, 2019
Jose Mourinho, who was sacked by the club last month, has repeatedly been criticised for his defensive football.
But Murphy believes United’s interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken the right approach by adopting a more attack-minded strategy in matches.
Murphy told The Debate on Sky Sports: “If you look at United’s squad, people say, ‘They need this defender, that defender’.”
“Their strength is in attacking areas so it makes sense to play to your strengths and alleviate pressure off your back players.”
“It’s a bit of a myth anyway because the last two seasons United have had the second-best defence in the Premier League so they have got players who can do it.”
“[Antonio] Valencia had been left out and I thought he’d been the best right-back in the Premier League the last two years.”
Solskjaer faces his first real test this weekend as the 20-time Premier League champions take on third-placed Tottenham at Wembley Stadium.
‘You don’t have to be best friends’
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) January 9, 2019
“I think it would be a huge statement,” Murphy said ahead of United’s trip to Wembley to face Spurs on Sunday.
“But it wouldn’t shock me because of the quality they’ve got. We talk about Sir Alex Ferguson going in and talking to the lads and Ole giving them a bit of freedom, they’ve got some brilliant players.”
“Actually, it wasn’t rocket science to take the handcuffs and say, ‘This is how we’re going to play. I want the intensity up and I want you to express yourselves’.”
“You’re talking about [Marcus] Rashford, [Alexis] Sanchez, [Juan] Mata, [Paul] Pogba – they’re top players. A bit of freedom and encouragement and a bit of an ego massage, it wasn’t that difficult.”
“What we’re going to see is a good game of football where they go toe-to-toe. I don’t think Solskjaer will be pragmatic at all because he believes in those players and so he should.”