Manchester United’s slack defending for the Sevilla goal that dumped them out of the Europa League has been panned by critics.
Luuk de Jong was introduced as a second-half substitute and capitalised on chaos in the heart of United’s backline to bury beyond David de Gea and send the LaLiga club through to the final.
Former United player Paul Ince claimed that arch-rivals Liverpool, who boasted a formidable defence this season, would have been able to repel the danger instead.
Sevilla have the lead against Manchester United!
A simple finish for Luuk de Jong 👌
The Reds have it all to do…#Club2020 pic.twitter.com/ABR4tM91Wk
A series of damning television replays revealed both Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka failed to track De Jong’s burst into the middle of the box in the seconds leading up to the 78th minute winner.
Lindelof was then caught up in a furious war of words with team-mate Bruno Fernandes, who had opened the scoring from the penalty spot in Cologne, and Ince was left disgusted with the fatal lapse in concentration.
He said on BT Sport’s coverage: ‘From a defensive point of view, that would not have happened if it was Liverpool defending there. If that was Gary Neville that doesn’t happen.’
Sevilla capitalised twice on inviting deliveries fired across the United goalmouth, with former Liverpool flop Suso netting the equaliser from close range.
But once again it was fine margins that proved United’s undoing in Europe. The Old Trafford giants were guilty of squandering countless guilt-edged openings to edge into the lead themselves, and De Jong’s strike piled on further misery.
Paul Scholes delivered a similarly damning assessment of United’s defenders, with the club’s legendary ex-midfielder reserving particular criticism for the under-fire Lindelof.
He also urged United to urgently reinforce in that position during the current transfer window.
Speaking on BT Sport, he said: ‘There is a lot wrong with the goal, you can blame the back four. (Harry) Maguire has to drop in surely, Lindelof has got to defend the middle of his goal.
‘Lindelof is 75 per cent blame for the goal. How can your centre half not see where the centre forward is. Where is Maguire?
‘I think they could do with centre backs. Lindelof is not good enough as a partner for Maguire. I think defensively the full backs are OK. Their defensive record over the last 15 games has been one of the best but they need a commanding player next to Maguire.
‘But United were so wasteful in front of goal. So you have to pay that extra money for a centre forward or wide player to win you games of football.’