Man Utd nearing ‘defensive nightmare’ but Ten Hag with a solution on “sensational’ Maguire plan to solve defensive problems.

Man Utd could be in trouble if Lisandro Martinez or Raphael Varane get injured. But Erik ten Hag does have a ‘sensational’ Harry Maguire solution in mind. I spyThe proliferation of an awful new Sun website headline style was covered in Monday’s Mediawatch, but it continues apace:

Again, Stevan Jovetic likely prefers ‘free agent’. And you have not interviewed him. And you have absolutely no idea how much he has ‘made’ as a footballer. Stop doing this.

Beautiful disasterAnother subject discussed recently on these pages was the moment Andre Onana very briefly lost his temper with Harry Maguire during a pre-season friendly defeat to Borussia Dortmund.It was a situation that happens in pretty much every game at professional level and beyond, but it ticked a number of clicky boxes and so it became A Thing.But the MailOnline see it as part of a much wider issue if their lead story at Tuesday lunchtime is anything to go by:Are Man United heading for a defensive disaster? Andre Onana is already on Harry Maguire’s case, Erik ten Hag’s moaning about sloppiness and just one injury could leave back line threadbareIt doesn’t particularly feel as though Man United are ‘heading for a defensive disaster’ but let’s take a look at the points separately, with the Onana nonsense already debunked.Erik ten Hag is indeed ‘moaning about sloppiness’. He described some of the defending in that Dortmund defeat as “unforgivable”. He wasn’t at all happy with his Man Utd players.

But also: it’s pre-season. This is very much the idea. Manchester City have conceded six goals against Yokohama F. Marinos, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid; Arsenal have let in six goals against Nurnberg, Barcelona and Man Utd themselves; Liverpool drew 4-4 against Greuther Furth last week. It’s almost as if players have been off for a few weeks, new signings are being integrated and building fitness is more important than anything at this stage.Are all those teams ‘heading for a defensive disaster’ or is exaggerating the importance of friendlies solely a Man Utd thing?

‘Just one injury or suspension could blow a gaping hole in Ten Hag’s defence, forcing left-back Luke Shaw or one of their midfielders to slot in,’ is the last part of the mounting evidence that suggests Man Utd are a ticking timebomb at the back.

It should probably be pointed out that Man Utd lost both Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane to injury at various points of last season but still secured Champions League qualification even when Shaw and/or Victor Lindelof had to fill in. There was no ‘gaping hole’ and no collapse without them.In the Premier League alone, Martinez played 27 games and Varane managed 24. Man Utd have shown themselves to be perfectly capable of sustaining the loss of either – or even both simultaneously.Their central defenders include Martinez, Varane, Lindelof, Harry Maguire and yes, Shaw, who really was very good when used in that position last season. And as far as Maguire has slipped down the pecking order, he is still pretty good at football.Then there is the prospect of signing a 35-year-old Jonny Evans on a short-term deal as cover. That’s six proven first-team options ranging from brilliant to adequate, which doesn’t sound particularly ‘threadbare’. And that’s before including the nuclear options like youth players or the actual Scott McTominay, who has played there before for club and country.The starting central defenders in the 3-1 defeat to Wrexham were Evans and Will Fish. For the 3-2 loss to Dortmund it was Maguire and Lindelof. Their actual first-choice partnership of Martinez and Varane played together against Real Madrid and only conceded one goal – which was probably offside – during their time on the pitch.

After that comes some bluster about the switch in style from David de Gea to Onana, and a warning that ‘with just two weeks of training – and two friendlies, against RC Lens and Athletic Bilbao – before the season opener with Wolves on August 14, much needs to improve.’It feels like a) Ten Hag probably knows that, b) two weeks of focused, dedicated training is quite a lot, and c) pre-season results are meaningless. Man Utd lost one of their six friendlies last season, scoring 14 goals and conceding six, then started their Premier League campaign getting hammered by Brighton and Brentford.Are Man United heading for a defensive disaster? Not really, no. King ErikOver at The Sun website, ‘Ten Hag names two things Maguire must do to earn sensational first-team return’ during this time of obviously immense defensive uncertainty. Let’s take a look:He is a very good centre-back, and I believe in the potential of Harry Maguire. It’s just that he has to prove himself and fight his way into the team.

Footballer has to be good to play. And would the club’s former £80m captain re-establishing himself in the starting line-up really be that ‘sensational’. Dirty HarryFair play to the social bods at The Times for pairing this headline and picture together:

They know precisely what they’re doing. Shaw thing‘Luke Shaw reveals how the Man Utd squad reacted to Man City winning the Treble’ is some peak nonsense from the Daily Star website.It turns out didn’t celebrate by going on a Jack Grealish-inspired bender; it was actually “really hard to take” for the players to see their bitter rivals win the three biggest trophies on offer in a club season. Who knew?

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