Manchester City star Bernardo Silva revealed the tactical approach that exploited Manchester United’s defence perfectly.
Manchester City star Bernardo Silva detailed the vulnerabilities within the defence of Manchester United that his team exploited. The Citizens won the Manchester derby 3-0 in a convincing fashion at Old Trafford.
United manager Erik ten Hag surprised the fans and football pundits by opting for Jonny Evans over Raphael Varane. The United boss opted for a more cautious approach which backfired as City moved the defence according to their will.
United goalkeeper Andre Onana showed terrific form and was the only good performer of the night for the home team. The 27-year-old made many saves to keep the Red Devils in the game yet they still conceded three goals.
Bernardo explained (h/t Manchester Evening News) the game plan his team deployed against United that worked with perfection. He said:
“Knowing their full-backs were going to be tight with Jack [Grealish] and Phil [Foden], making those moments – me and Julian [Alvarez] tried to give them the option of the pass in the pocket between full-back and centre-back. But also if they followed us to come inside and shoot – it was definitely something we worked on and it worked. Slow build-up, attracting the opponent and then when we find the space in behind their midfielders, we attack quick. It really worked.”
The Citizens dominated 61% of the possession throughout the game and took 21 shots with 10 shots on target. On the other hand, the Red Devils only managed to muster seven shots with three shots on target.
Critics have criticized Ten Hag for the team’s lack of philosophy and tactical style of play throughout this season. When United opted to play a more offensive game, they left spaces for opponents to exploit and conceded goals. Simultaneously, when they took a more cautious approach, they were unable to muster any credible threat.
Ten Hag’s men kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League last season. However, United have conceded 23 goals out of 14 games in all competitions this season.
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Bernardo’s tactical revelation is not a surprise for many fans and football pundits as United’s vulnerabilities are very visible. Slight tactical changes and continuous use of players who are out of form have not worked for the Red Devils. United fans would hope that Ten Hag can make drastic changes now that the problems have been very repetitive.