Date: 4th October 2012 at 11:22am
Written by:

Former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson feels United’s defensive frailty may be down to a lack of presence in the midfield.

United’s back line has been creaky this season, keeping just 2 clean sheets in 9 games this season and have already lost twice in the league.

Defensive injuries as well as Sir Alex’s decision to rotate his goalkeepers may have played a part in our inability to keep the ball out of our net, but Atkinson, who was in charge prior to Sir Alex, feels the lack of a ‘midfield destroyer’ is putting pressure on United’s defence.

Speaking to BBC Red Wednesday, the former manager said:

“When you look at them through the years, they’ve had a Bryan Robson, a Paul Ince or a Roy Keane.

“I think Fergie would love somebody like that to play in there now. Great players, but someone who will frighten the opposition a little bit when they’ve got the ball.

“There’s been a lot of criticism of the back four and maybe sometimes it’s because they haven’t got a midfield destroyer in front of them that puts the back four under more pressure.”


8 responses to ““I think Fergie would love somebody like that to play in there now.””

  1. matt says:

    fuck off atkinson, you are the worst manager we’ve ever had so your opinion is void!!

  2. kieran says:

    that type of player is a rarity in modern football. I agree that the defensive frailties have become a bigger issue, but you have to wonder whose fault it is. Is it fergie, buying players in position’s that don’t really need filling? Is it the coaching staff not addressing the problem or not adjusting to players circumstances (e.g. rio’s lack of pace)? Or have United become static and too machine like since ronaldo left?

    for the last 2-3 years you know what way the team will set up and play, very little spark anymore.

    • Yes, I know but soccer pundits and Sir Alex have said how when you look at the statistics when Darren Fletcher plays he improves the midfield and we win more games.

  3. abbas premji says:

    That type of player would be sent off every game in the modern game so that would make it really pointless.

  4. As far as I am concerned we have been missing Darren Fletcher being out for a long time. Whenever he starts he adds defensive steel to central midfield. He closes down and tackles players and provides an extra cover in front of the defense.

    He is hardworking and does more than a decent job of passing and distributing the ball. He is no Roy Keane or Paul Ince, but he is no average player either. United has missed his presence for many months now.

  5. Mu19 says:

    Ron is right. Its so obvious that there is practically no midfield resistance blocking our defence. People just waltz past carrick, what does this guy do apart from inconsequential passes?! When we attack we have to get past 10 outfield players. When the opposition attack they are only up against an increasingly unreliable rio and a never going to be reliable evans. Our defence is no longer what it was, cant compare an old rio and evans to pally n bruce or young rio and vidic. Half of our squad is not good enough. If this was a manager game, the only players i would keep would be rvp, rooney, valencia, kagawa, vidic, de gea. The rest are not good enough for manchester united. We are not a small club, any united fan that accepts an average player in our team is part of the reason we aren’t the team we were.

    • Peter says:

      What are you on? That last sentence is bizarre? Jones, Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Cleverly, Powell, Welbeck, Fabio and Nani are all fine footballers and will all improve. A fully fit Fletcher and Anderson are also fine footballers. We a only a CM and LW away from a very strong squad. Fergie is rebuilding. 3 of your 6 arrived over the last 18 months while most of my players who will improve are also relatively new to the first team squad. Relax, Fergie ALWAYS gets the job done.


    hey…just fair opinion by me, A CHELSEA Fans…your team got a hell of power there at front (van persie and kagawa surely give something different) but its true that your team this season need that physical defensive midfield player (Tiote?),and of course a stable goal keeper dont get me wrong well known team around the world already have ( casillas, buffon, neuer, cech, valdes )de gea? replace him with akinfeev…

    Please dont flame me!! just fair opinion by the way…may the best team win this season!!