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Damien Delaney doubles down on Man United criticism after Europa League semi-final

“Bruno Fernandes is carrying that club on his own.”

Damien Delaney has doubled down on his criticism of Manchester United. The former Republic of Ireland and Crystal Palace defender was critical of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side following their 6-2 victory over Roma last week. Delaney said that Man United have structural issues and they are a level below elite European sides.

After the second leg of the Europa League semi-final on Thursday, which Roma won 3-2 on the night but Man United progressed to the final after winning 8-5 on aggregate, Delaney was once again critical of Solskjaer’s side.

Damien Delaney Man United

Damien Delaney critical of Man United after Europa League semi-final.

Delaney said that there are issues with Man United’s midfield and central defence. But their world-class attacking players, such as Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani, are papering over the cracks.

According to the former Ireland defender, the Red Devils will be exposed when they return to the Champions League next season. He also said they are “miles away” from winning the sport’s top prizes.

“People often ask me why am I so critical of Manchester United. Nights like tonight is why I am. I just think there’s something off with them. ” Delaney said on Virgin Media.

“They’re forced into playing Fred and McTominay as two number sixes. Pogba cannot play there, he has no defensive instincts and the two centre-backs really get exposed here, Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly, time and time again.

“He (Solskjaer) had to change it again. The fact that he was scrambling for Matic mid-way through the second half when you’re winning 6-2 on aggregate tells a story in itself. There were numerous chances (for Roma), Mkhitaryan had a hatful.”

Damien Delaney: Man United squad has ‘serious problems.’

Delaney went on to say that Man United’s issues stem from how the squad was constructed. He said that Solskjaer limits the number of creative players he can get into the side by opting for two defensive midfielders, a decision designed to protect the team’s central defenders.

“The United squad has serious problems in the way that it’s made up. They have to play those two defensive midfield players,” Delaney said.

“Donny van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba – you want to see them in the team. But then you only have one defensive midfield player and they’re not going to keep clean sheets like that.

damien delaney man united

“We saw in large portions of the season – Leeds in the Premier League or AC Milan or the second leg against Granada – poor, poor performances. And they were getting through because they have some magic at the top end of the pitch.

“But, my God, as you move up the rungs of the ladder, and tonight they only just came up one level to Roma, they got caught. And they’re going to go up another level against Villarreal.

“If we’re talking and I’m judging Manchester United on Manchester United’s standards, Champions League and winning leagues – they are miles away from it at the minute.

“They will be exposed defensively by Champions League level teams. And then the opposition won’t give up chances that Roma did tonight. Roma have one of the worst defensive records in the league, I think it’s over 53 or 54 goals (conceded), definitely the worst in the top 10 (in Serie A). So they’re not a great side defensively.”

Damien Delaney: Bruno Fernandes is carrying Man United.

Finally, Delaney said that Fernandes has carried Man United this season and he is vital to the club’s chances of success in the future.

He also warned that Man United must find another centre-forward to either compete with or replace Cavani, who may not extend his stay at the club beyond the end of the season.

“I think there are problems for Manchester United massively,” Delaney said.

Damien Delaney Man United

“Bruno Fernandes is carrying that club on his own, he has picked Manchester United football club up and put it on his back. And Cavani, whether he’s there next year or not, we’re not quite sure.

“They need a number nine to replace Cavani and can give you 50 games a season and they need to protect Bruno Fernandes.”

You can watch Delaney speak about Man United below.

Brian Kerr was alongside Delaney on Virgin Media. The former Ireland manager said that Man United were “not quite as bad” as his fellow pundit believes, but he agreed with a lot of what Delaney said.

You can watch Kerr speak about the Red Devils below.

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