BBC pundit Garth Crooks did not hold back in his criticism of Manchester United centre-back pairing Victor Lindelof and Lisandro Martinez after the Red Devils conceded 3 at home to Brighton at the weekend.
Writing in his ‘Team of the Week’ column, Crooks said that Lindelof “looked unrecognisable” from the player of last season, while he was not impressed with Martinez either:
“I don’t think I’ve seen defending by a Manchester United side like that for years. Victor Lindelof looked unrecognisable from the player I saw in last season’s FA Cup semi-final and don’t even get me started on Lisandro Martinez.”
Lindelof was at fault for Danny Welbeck’s opening goal, failing to cut out a cross from Simon Adingra. The Swedish international was also poor in the buildup to the Seagulls’ second, getting dragged out of position by Adam Lallana, and allowing a pass from Tariq Lamptey to reach Pascal Gross, who had time and space inside the box.
Martinez was subsequently fooled by Gross’s faint to shoot, before the German international then slotted the ball past Andre Onana.
For Brighton’s third, the entire backline was at sixes and sevens with United chasing the game, allowing Lamptey to cut the ball back for Joao Pedro. The Brazilian was in acres of space before he side-footed his shot into the goal.
United will be keenly anticipating Varane’s return to fitness
Manager Erik ten Hag confirmed after the defeat on Saturday that Raphael Varane will be available for selection again very “shortly”.
The Frenchman has not played since being forced off at halftime in United’s 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest last month. It should be pointed out that, in that game, the home side went 2-0 down in the first 5 minutes so Varane’s return to the team won’t be a cure for all of the team’s problems defensively. However, he can certainly do no worse than Lindelof or Martinez.