David de Gea has become “a real problem” for Manchester United says Paul Scholes, but the Red Devils legend feels another “real dominant centre-back” remains Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s most pressing transfer requirement.
A 3-1 victory over Newcastle has ensured that the men from Old Trafford remain the closest challengers to Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
They were, however, unable to keep a clean sheet once again, with questions being asked of an experienced performer between the sticks.
What has been said?
United icon Scholes told BT Sport of De Gea, with the Spain international suffering more nervy moments in a game that saw him beaten by a strike from Allan Saint-Maximin that bounced up and into the roof of his net: “Yeah, [the clean sheet record is] not good enough.
“We mentioned it before the game, I think that is the biggest weakness in this team.
“David again, so sloppy, it's becoming a real problem, having the confidence in your goalkeeper, and short corners, United had one out for two or three corners, this is the one where David again, can you catch that? He punches it into a really bad area.”
How many clean sheets have United kept this season?
The Red Devils have secured just eight shutouts in 25 Premier League games in 2020-21. A further five clean sheets have been kept in domestic cup competition, and two across seven continental outings in the Champions League and Europa League.
The bigger picture
With United remaining far from watertight at the back, Scholes believes further funds need to be invested in their defensive ranks during the summer transfer window.
He said: “I said before the game I think that they're missing a real dominant centre-back. You look back at the history of the teams that win leagues, they have real leaders in the back four.
“I think Maguire possibly could be but I think they need somebody with him who could be really dominant in that position, really commanding, can bully a centre-forward, can demand from the rest of the squad around him on and off the pitch as well. I just think they're missing that.
“I don't think we're that far off at all. I think the attacking play, the midfield play, Paul Pogba's looked a brilliant player, the player we hoped we'd bought. Fred and [Scott] McTominay are doing well, McTominay especially, and the attacking players.
“A young [Mason] Greenwood coming of age really. This lad could be a superstar. You've got [Marcus] Rashford, you've got [Anthony] Martial. Martial's struggling for confidence I suppose but that lad's got real ability.
“We've got the experience of [Edinson] Cavani, there's goals in the team, [Bruno] Fernandes, I've not even spoke about Fernandes.
“I just think a real dominant centre-half with authority. It could take United to that next level.”