Edinson Cavani will be feeling frustrated when asked to lead the line for Manchester United, says Paul Parker, with Marcus Rashford too much of an individual to fill a support role while Anthony Martial is scratching around for consistency.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still looking for the right formula when it comes to a star-studded attacking unit at Old Trafford.
Summer signing Cavani was used down the middle in a Champions League meeting with Paris Saint-Germain, but the Red Devils failed to find a spark in a 3-1 defeat that saw them finish with 10 men.
Parker believes there are obvious issues for United to address in the final third, but also feels that Solskjaer’s side remain too “ponderous” as a collective, with more tactical tinkering required in order for the free-flowing football that an expectant fan base craves to be delivered.
The former Red Devils defender told Eurosport: “Anthony Martial had a few chances [against PSG] but they didn’t have the same flow as they did against Southampton, when they came back from 2-0 down to triumph 3-2 with a late comeback. Everything is so reliant on Bruno Fernandes.
“If you have the opportunity in games of high magnitude, you need to have better players on the pitch, and Donny van de Beek should have been starting. They should not be playing Fred as well as one of Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic. I think you can improve on one of those three, and Van de Beek should be starting. It costs them in attack too often.
“In Edinson Cavani, you can see the frustration. I wonder if the people who play with him are on the same wavelength. I think Rashford is an individual on the pitch, and there are questions over whether they will ever get consistency from Martial. That hurts Cavani, who is an out-and-out striker.
“If you have Van de Beek on the pitch then you have to have Fred and Cavani. In a high tempo game, that pace suits Fred. He can use the ball quicker and doesn’t need to be too intricate. By including Van de Beek it makes it easier on the team to pass through the pitch because he finds space.
“Then, the other two midfielders can get up and down. To have an extra holding player, two defensive players in a double pivot, is a waste. But United don’t need two holding players, especially if that’s McTominay and Matic, because the pair of them are too slow. It makes everything too ponderous, which has been the problem with the side, at least since Louis van Gaal was in charge.
“The teams winning at the moment are the ones who are playing at a high pace. That’s nothing like United at the moment.”
Solskjaer’s side will be back in action on Saturday when they take in a trip to West Ham.