Michael Owen: Manchester United defence are a worry


Speaking on BT Sport, former Manchester United striker Michael Owen was critical of the team’s defence after their 2-2 draw with Stoke on Saturday.

Owen, who scored the ever famous last minute winner vs Manchester City, has faced up against some of the world’s greatest defenders and showed some concerns about his former club’s stock. Manchester United have the likes of Jones, Rojo, Smalling, Lindelof, Bailly, Valencia, Darmian, Blind and Shaw as the senior defenders of the team but their former striker was unimpressed.

manchester united's phil jones
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 26: (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /

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“I would be concerned slightly with Manchester United’s defence. They’re in the Champions League now and against the best teams I can’t look at that back four and think ‘world class defender’ about any of them.” said the former Real Madrid man.

Owen then continued rather skeptically, “I think they are all much of a muchness really. I think Antonio Valencia is a top player.  But he is playing out of position and against a top team, perhaps even he could be found out. I think that’s a worry there.”.

His concerns proved to be fair with Manchester United’s defenders at fault for both the goals conceded against Stoke. Darmian appeared to hesitate on closing his man down for City’s first and Jones let his man get away from him during a set-piece for their second. If it weren’t for the team’s attack, Mourinho may have been looking at a different result.

Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, De Gea and Lukaku all starred but were let down by some disappointing defending. Jones and Bailly were initially praised for their start to the season in which the team kept 3 clean sheets and fans were starting to love the centre-back partnership. Jose Mourinho did have concerns the international break would kill the team’s momentum and it appears to have done so.

Darmian also came in for his first start of the season and it proved to be a disappointing decision. The Italian was brought in to solidify things for Manchester United but instead put in an uninspiring display that will surely leave the manager turning back to Blind for the left-back spot. The Dutchman had started all 3 matches previous to the Stoke game but it seemed like Jose had some concerns of his ability in that position.

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Either way, United are top of the table and only at the end of the season will fans find out if Michael Owen’s assessment is a fair one or not. Mourinho will be hoping Rojo can come back from injury sooner, Shaw to regain fitness quicker and for Lindelof to integration to go smoother. Should it all happen, Jose may just have a decent enough defence to build on.