Manchester United were dumped out of the Champions League by Barcelona on Tuesday, and one stunning stat shows exactly why the Red Devils can’t compete with the big boys anymore.
If they’re honest, most Manchester United fans had probably admitted defeat as soon as they saw the starting XI at the Camp Nou.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could not select Luke Shaw due to suspension, so opted instead to deploy Ashley Young on the left side of defence, with Victor Lindelof on the other flank.
Chris Smalling and Phil Jones started out in the middle, something that is surely music to the ears of any opposing forward player.
Here’s the kicker though – three of the back four that started on Tuesday, as well as David De Gea, started a 2-1 Champions League defeat to Basel in December 2011, a match that dumped the Red Devils out at the group stage.
Former Wigan & Fulham man, Jimmy Bullard recently showed that he’s still got it! Check out the video below…
Let’s put this into perspective shall we? In 2011, Barack Obama was the United States president, Adam Johnson was a Manchester City player and Marcus Rashford was 14 years old.
And yet, eight seasons later, four of the back five (including De Gea) are still being used as regular first team options, despite fans and managers alike yearning for new centre back options every single summer since.
That’s not even the worst part either; three of the four that started both matches have been given new contracts in the last few months, while De Gea, the only one who actually deserves a new deal, is yet to get one. It is mind-numbingly stupid.
Solskjaer didn’t help himself by putting his best centre back in Lindelof at right back, but the fact of the matter is that no manager can build a strong defence around Young, Smalling and Jones.
The latter pair in particular have never proven themselves to be anything more than absolutely mediocre, their reward for which has been to get a shiny new contract, showing just how directionless the club currently are.
Until the owners and Ed Woodward bite the bullet and clear out the massive number of bang average players currently on the books at Old Trafford, it really won’t matter who leads the troops from the dugout, things will only get worse.