Mikael Silvestre singles out the main reason behind the defensive resurgence at Manchester United
Former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre, while speaking to bettingexpert (h/t Manchester Evening News) praised the team’s defensive unit and added that the fact that working as a unit makes them a more formidable group.
Silvestre, who made 361 appearances for the club knows a thing or two about how to be successful at the club. He is full of praise for the recent progress that the defence has made, especially after how things were last season.
Too much emphasis used to be given to the status of particular players and that played a key part in the detriment of the team’s form as certain players would not be dropped even after a bad performance.
The situation has changed however since the arrival of Erik ten Hag as manager of the club. Although there is a preference to play a left-foot and right-foot centre-back combination, that is more down to the tactics rather than personal choices.
Silvestre believes the fact that any player can be dropped or called upon and expect a good performance has raised the level of the defensive unit and is key to United’s revival recently.
“First of all, in a 1-v-1 situation, the United defenders are much more solid and aggressive. And then as a unit, when they’ve played with the same back four for a series of games, they’ve shown that they are harder to beat than in previous seasons. It’s not only the back four, I think everyone is committed to the defensive tasks which wasn’t the case earlier. You have two World Cup winners (Martinez and Varane) in United’s defence, so it’s not bad
It was important to raise the standards at the club after a horror show over the past few years and Ten Hag’s appointment, which many can agree on as one of the better decisions made by the board, is showing results now.
Whereas last year, we kept a total of only eight clean sheets the entire season, we have already equalled that number this season. It is a complete makeover of the mess created last season and the new faces brought in have to be given credit for that.
Casemiro has undoubtedly been one of the signings of the summer transfer window while Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia have added a sense of grit and aggression to a team filled with low confidence.
Defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford in the two opening games of the season showed the manager where the urgency lay, which was solving the issue of defence.
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Since then, barring the game against Manchester City, we have looked pretty solid at the back and in general play the game with much more confidence and composure.
Hopefully, the good bein of form amongst the defence continues as we look to build on the performances in our bid to finish in the top four come the end of the season.