Gary Neville says Man Utd defensive trio not good enough to win league 7 months ago

Gary Neville says Man Utd defensive trio not good enough to win league

"They don't move their feet three, four, five yards. They never do and they have to do it. If they don't start doing it, they're never going to get to a point where they're going to win the league."

More dropped points from Manchester United at relegation-battling West Brom on Sunday has seen Gary Neville reiterate his belief that his old club's defensive frailties mean they cannot win the Premier League title.

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United fell behind in the opening minutes at the Hawthorns, when Victor Lindelof was outmuscled by Mbaye Diagne. Despite Harry Maguire stating afterwards that he believed Lindelof had been fouled, the goal was allowed to stand. Bruno Fernandes drew United level before half-time, but they couldn't convert their dominance of possession into any more goals and were in some ways fortunate that West Brom didn't capitalise on two more lapses at the back as time ticked away.

Speaking on Monday Night Football, Neville questioned the partnership between Maguire and Lindelof and the form of David De Gea.

"I don't think the discussions we're having now are anything new," he said. "We said at the start of the season that Manchester United needed a centre-back, and that there were question marks over the goalkeeper.

"If you look at the goal against West Brom, it's not going to take those feelings away. They were taken back into the box with Diagne fighting with Lindelof, and West Brom keep the ball alive. Sam Allardyce will have worked on this all week.

"He'd have worked on positions in wide areas, and both Maguire and Lindelof don't shift up. They don't move their feet three, four, five yards. They never do and they have to do it. If they don't start doing it, they're never going to get to a point where they're going to win the league.

"Going back 10 years it was the same - you've got to be aggressive in getting out your box. What happens is Lindelof gets pinned. He got pinned by a player who's stronger than him, who outmuscles him and who bullies him. Once you're in that position, it's a nightmare."

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Neville also strongly denied the suggestion that Diagne fouled Lindelof in the process of scoring the goal.

"There will be people who will say it's a foul. It's never a foul. It's never a foul at all. It's a brilliant header. Lindelof is too deep and is outmuscled. He's fighting with the striker.

"When I played centre-back for United, which would be around 10 to 15 games a season, there was always a game where physically I just couldn't handle it. I've got two goals I can remember which stick in my mind as massive learning experiences.

"The first was against Les Ferdinand [in a game against QPR, December 1994]. Les was brilliant in the air and I was like Lindelof on Sunday. He got up early and I was trying to fight him but I had no chance.

"The second one I remember was against Alan Shearer at Old Trafford [against Newcastle in January 2002]. Shearer knew what he was doing. He has a similar height to Ferdinand, and I think Lindelof finds himself in this position quite a bit where he gets put under pressure like I was with that goal where I wasn't tight enough.

"Lindelof does struggle aerially, whereas Maguire struggles when the ball is played in behind him and he has someone running at him one-on-one."