Gary Neville believes Juan Mata could be the player to solve Manchester United’s creativity ‘problem’.
Despite beating the likes of Manchester City, Leicester, Tottenham and Chelsea in impressive fashion this season, it is now just 12 points from 12 meetings with sides currently below the Red Devils in the table, their inability to break down defensive opposition leaving the club seven points adrift of the Champions League places.
Key to their struggles has been a lack of creativity against organised and compact defences, and former Manchester United defender Neville believes Spain midfielder Mata, who has been on the fringes this season, could be the solution to their ongoing problems.
“They’ve had problems against team who essentially defend deep, who are compact,” Neville said on Sky Sports.
“Even last week against Everton when Everton got into their shape. So the games that have been causing United problems have been this type of game.
“But if United are going to try and get into the positions where Tottenham and Chelsea are looking to get to, they have to start winning these games.
“The players have got a real problem, they haven’t got enough creativity in the final third when they play against a deep defence, it’s as simple as that. They prefer counter-attacking, so that’s the issue.
“It’s a problem for United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got to try and get around it. He’s not used Juan Mata that much but he is the one who potentially could find passes in tight spaces, so whether he could be introduced. Something like that might change it in these types of games.”