In pictures: Man Utd v Galatasaray
Raphael Varane’s form is a huge worry for Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag amid his unprecedented injury crisis, according to Old Trafford icon Paul Scholes. United shipped another three goals in Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat to Galatasaray, increasing the tally to 17 in their opening 10 games this season.
Six of those outings have ended in defeat, including both Champions League Group A fixtures against Bayern Munich and Galatasaray.
Wilfried Zaha, Kerem Akturkoglu and Mauro Icardi’s strikes cancelled out Rasmus Hojlund’s brilliant brace to inflict more misery on Ten Hag, who faces intensifying pressure.
United have already lost three home games this season, more than the two suffered throughout the entirety of the Dutchman’s maiden campaign.
His leaky defence has played a significant role, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia and Sergio Reguilon all currently injured.
Ten Hag’s remaining available players, including Varane, have failed to step up in their absence. And Scholes believes the 30-year-old’s form is a major worry for United.
“I do worry about Varane a bit. I know he’s been one of the very best defenders around, just like Rio was, in that same ilk at Real Madrid,” Scholes told TNT Sports at full-time.
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“But I just feel like his legs are looking a little bit sluggish. He’s a bit unfit, and I’d be really worried about him.”
Ferdinand added to his former Red Devils teammate’s qualms, blasting the lack of leadership on show across Ten Hag’s backline.
He said: “When you concede goals and score at the same time, it’s down to the team, I believe that.
“You do have [shaky] moments in games, and you do need organisers at the back, whether that be the goalkeeper or the centre-halves who talk and communicate.
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“In two of those goals especially, there was zero leadership, no control of the situation. You have to make sure you understand your mindset in terms of ‘What ifs’.
“What if someone miss-hits a pass? What if someone miss-hits a shot, or it takes a deflection? You have to think like that, and we’re not talking about young players here.
“These are experienced players here who know their way around a football pitch. They’ve won things on the biggest stages. I don’t think you can point the finger only at the defence.
“It has to be the whole team. As Eriksen said, you have to have awareness. It’s like that in all football, whether it’s Sunday League or the Champions League, you have to have the awareness.”
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