Gary Neville believes that Erik ten Hag’s tactical approach against Brighton and Hove Albion left Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay ‘legless’.
Manchester United’s disappointing start to the season took another dismal turn on Saturday afternoon.
Brighton and Hove Albion rolled into town and coasted to a 3-1 win, demolishing United at Old Trafford.
Heading into the international break with a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal hurt, but coming back with another 3-1 defeat has set alarm bells ringing.
Erik ten Hag is under pressure and needs to find some answers with United looking a little rudderless in the opening weeks of the campaign.
Gary Neville questions Erik ten Hag tactics
This is a system we have rarely seen under Ten Hag and Brighton, to be brutally honest, ripped it apart.
Former United defender Gary Neville has now given his view on the tactics, speaking on The Gary Neville Podcast.
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Neville recalled that there always seems to be space on the far side away from the dugouts at Old Trafford, a strange quirk over the years.
Neville couldn’t believe that United went with a narrow setup, believing that Eriksen and McTominay just couldn’t cover that much ground as Brighton attacked the flanks.
The ex-England international highlighted that McTominay is a great athlete and yet even he seemed ‘legless’ at times in the second half with the Scotland international completely exhausted.
“There’s this thing at Old Trafford: dugout side, there’s no space. It’s not an old wives’ tale this, it’s absolutely true! I played right back on that side of the stadium, there’s no space. On the far side, you have acres of space away from the dugout. The space in the game is always for the opposition on the other side of the pitch. I don’t know why that is, it’s always happened at Old Trafford.”
“I was sat on the opposite side of the pitch and in the first half Eriksen was being asked to get out to Brighton’s right-back and right-hand side with Reguilon. That’s where the first goal game from. Eriksen had to get out there because he was playing narrow in a diamond.”
“In the second half, McTominay is over on this side – and McTominay can run, by the way, he’s got big energy – he was legless at times. McTominay couldn’t get out to their left side in the second half, and that’s where the two goals came from. I was surprised that they kept such a narrow midfield and didn’t have the 4-3-3 or the 4-5-1, because Manchester United’s pitch, even though it may come up the same size as other pitches, it just always feels massive in the wide areas – it always has done,” he added.
We surely won’t see the diamond against Bayern Munich
The attention turns to Bayern Munich now with Champions League football coming up.
Ten Hag faces a big night against his former club with United fans desperate to see an improvement – either in performance or in result.
The Dutchman will be planning his tactical approach and we surely won’t see the diamond again.
Bayern have speedy players in Leroy Sane and Alphonso Davies, so United cannot afford to make the same mistakes again, even if this one isn’t at Old Trafford.