UEFA Champions League: Man Utd v Juventus - Juventus' defenders exactly what Man United lack

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Alexandra Beier
Two defences in contrasting form are up against each other as Man United host Juventus...

As Manchester United get ready to host Juventus in the Champions League, all eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford.

Under fire United manager Jose Mourinho must secretly be wishing that Ronaldo still adorned the red jersey given the way his attack has misfired in recent times but it will be at Juventus’ backline that the Portuguese will cast the most envious glance.

One of the most successful managers in the history of the game, Mourinho’s teams of the past have generally banked on an impeccable defence in their march towards glory.

That aspect has sorely been missing in the Portuguese’s reign at Old Trafford with the current season highlighting United’s defensive woes.

Paul Pogba Chris Smalling Manchester United FA Cup final 2018

In the Premier League, United have now conceded 16 goals in their 10 games so far. To put this into perspective, bottom-placed Newcastle United have conceded fewer (14).

Centre-back Eric Bailly has been completely sidelined this season after a promising start to his United career. Sweden’s Victor Lindelof has been preferred over him but the former Benfica man still looks like a bundle of nerves each time he takes the pitch.

Chris Smalling has been the only steady influence in the centre of United’s defence but the Englishman’s technical ability on the ball has always counted against him.

In contrast, Juventus have an abundance of riches in their centre-back positions. Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Mehdi Benatia are all quality defenders United would love to covet right now.

Juventus have run a tight ship at the back for many years now and it is this solid foundation that has led the Old Lady to seven consecutive Serie A triumphs with an eighth one on the cards given the way they have started this season.

These champion defenders, who are Juventus’ pride, would easily get into the United starting XI. 

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It remains to be seen if United's misfiring attack can breach the tight Juventus backline. 

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