Victor Lindelof’s performance at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace was so bad it had some supporters thinking Phil Jones might not be so bad after all.
Lindelof had a part in all three of Crystal Palace’s goals in an opening day 3-1 defeat.
While he was not the only poor performer for United, the Swede was by far the worst.
What makes this so frustrating, is that the warning signs have been there for United over Lindelof in recent weeks.
A walking disaster zone
Lindelof could have cut out the cross for Palace’s opener, but didn’t. He then gave away a handball for the penalty for their second.
It was a harsh decision, but indicative of where Lindelof is at the moment. Trouble tends to find him.
The third goal was the worst of the bunch, he was outmuscled and turned by Wilfried Zaha, who finished impressively.
This grouping of errors followed three big mistakes at the end of United’s 2019/20 season.
Lindelof was beaten to a cross by Olivier Giroud for Chelsea’s opener in the FA Cup semi-final.
Then against Southampton in the Premier League he was outdone by Michael Obefemi who brushed him aside to score a late equaliser, which came close to wrecking United’s hopes of a top four finish.
He then topped this off in the Europa League semi-final when he lost Luuk de Jong, who scored a headed winner which ended United’s season.
Then after giving away a penalty to Anthony Martial for France in Sweden’s international fixture, he was then rested for the next game against Portugal, with his manager pointing to fatigue.
Janne Anderson told Fotball Skanalen: “He was tired. We talked beforehand about him only playing one game. After the game against France, he felt very worn down.
Solskjaer must accept some responsibility
With all of this in mind, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to accept some responsibility for picking Lindelof.
Just on Friday he had talked up Eric Bailly, telling the club website: “I think we’ll see a lot of Eric. He’s looked really strong in training as well.”
The manager is not the only one at fault though. United as a whole have been too complacent about the need for a new centre-back.
At this stage it appears unlikely United will sign a new central defender before the transfer window closes, despite the need looking even bigger.
United will attempt to make do, and see if Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe or even Teden Mengi can step up.
One of them may be able to, but Solskjaer needs to stop being so loyal towards Lindelof, and accept it is time for him to have a spell out of the team for his own good.
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