Manchester United pulled off a memorable victory over Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday night after coming back from two goals down.
The hosts deservedly found themselves trailing 2-0 at the half-time interval after strikes from Mario Pasalic and Merih Demiral put the Italian side in control of proceedings.
It was a dreadful first 45 minutes from United, who lacked any coherent plan, organisation and structure, with the gap between Fred and Scott McTominay and the front four leaving them vulnerable to attack every time they lost possession.
But it was arguably in defence where the main issues arose from for the Red Devils. World Cup-winner Raphael Varane was sidelined with an injury, leaving Victor Lindelof to partner Harry Maguire at centre-back.
And it was an extremely uncomfortable night for the Sweden international. He struggled to cope with the physicality of Luis Muriel and then his replacement Duvan Zapata throughout the 90 minutes, almost resulting in the visitors putting the game out of sight.
With the score at 2-1 in the 71st minute, Zapata rolled Lindelof on the edge of United’s 18-yeard box far too easy before blasting his effort at David de Gea, who saved with his feet before quickly reacting to Ruslan Malinovskyi’s follow up effort.
United’s poor showing at the back during this calendar year has drawn criticism from former legend Paul Scholes, with the BT Sport pundit picking out Victor Lindelof in particular, saying: “I think in the middle of defence, Lindelof especially, they lack authority. He can be bullied, sometimes he’s not strong enough.
“I think both (Lindelof and Harry Maguire) can be very timid. They don’t really command or bully centre-forwards, they don’t really demand from the rest of the team. I think these two positions, in particular, are massive for teams that are going to win the league.”
And the underlying numbers from United’s midweek encounter back up Scholes’ fears from a few months ago. As per FotMob, Lindelof failed to win either of his duels and didn’t make a single tackle throughout the 90 minutes, resulting in him receiving a miserly match rating of just 6.5 out of 10.
With Varane set to be sidelined for several more weeks, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping to see a much-improved performance from Lindelof over the weekend when United take on fierce rivals Liverpool.