Jose Mourinho pinpointed Man Utd weakness still plaguing them over a year ago

Jose Mourinho identified Manchester United’s key weakness a year ago but it is still a cause for concern for his former club.

The Tottenham boss prepares to face off against United in the first showdown of the season between the clubs on Sunday.

Mourinho is yet to earn victory over United since taking the reins at Spurs, but there will be no surprises if his gameplan targets a specific frailty in his opponents.

Just over a year ago Mourinho was in the Sky Sports studio to watch United fall to a 2-0 defeat to West Ham at the London Stadium.

Jose Mourinho wearing a suit and tie: Mourinho spotted Man Utd's weakness over a year ago but it hasn't been addressed

                                      © SkySports Mourinho spotted Man Utd’s weakness over a year ago but it hasn’t been addressed

In the United side that day was their new signing Harry Maguire, who was brought to the club in a staggering £80million transfer despite Mourinho’s persistent calls for a new central defender rejected just the season prior.

 

It was arguably the lack of defensive reinforcements that played a significant part in Mourinho’s demise, and he has since been proved right on another of his views.

United had hoped Maguire’s arrival would boost Victor Lindelof and help them form a solid partnership.

But despite approving the expensive acquisition of Lindelof during his time at the club, Mourinho had a renewed verdict on the Swedish defender two years into his spell at the club, and was aware of his limitations.

Speaking prior to the West Ham match as pundit, Mourinho said: “Lindelof is very good in some aspects of the game, but he can be bullied one-on-one in the box.

“He’s not especially good in the air and (Harry) Maguire has that kind of presence and physicality that’s very important.”

Mourinho then stated that Lindelof paired with any other of United’s defenders would not be an improvement on the season he had as manager, but argued that Maguire’s involvement had at least made them slightly stronger.

He added: “I was not an idiot when in the last pre-season I was crying for a central defender.”

Fast forward 12 months and United’s centre-back pairing are still under scrutiny, but again it’s Lindelof who is bearing the brunt of the criticism.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears content with the defenders at his disposal though, ignoring calls for new arrivals by focusing on strengthening other areas of his team.

So far this season Lindelof has suffered a horror show performance against Crystal Palace, where he was argaubly at fault for all three goals – although one of those was an unfortunate penalty decision.

Palace forward Wilfried Zaha gave Lindelof a torrid afternoon at Old Trafford, leading ex-United defender Gary Neville to the following assessment.

“Well I think he [Zaha]’s had the beating of those two Manchester United centre-backs all day.

“He’s got them exactly where he wants them. He’s just not strong enough there Lindelof. It’s a 50/50. It’s weak!”

Pundit Gabriel Agbonlahor gave a similar analysis on talkSPORT .

“He [Zaha] was unbelievable. He bullied Lindelof for his second goal.

“Today Lindelof was getting tight to Zaha, getting rolled. It could have been 5-0.”

While United failed to listen to Mourinho and back him with further cash to spend on a centre-back, Tottenham look prepared to do the opposite.

Solskjaer meanwhile continues to go with his current pairing, with Mourinho no doubt licking his lips ahead of Sunday’s encounter.

Source: Mirror.co.uk

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