Solskjaer leaps to the defence of his under-fire defenders

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has offered an explanation over his side’s defensive struggles this season while defending his under-fire centre-backs.

Manchester United finished the season with the third-best defensive record last time out, conceding just three more goals than champions Liverpool, though have already conceded five times in their opening two Premier League outings.

A number of pundits have pinpointed the club’s central defenders as an area in need of urgent improvement – Victor Lindelof coming in for particular criticism – though speaking after the dramatic 3-2 win over Brighton on Saturday, Solskjaer insisted the club’s defensive issues were down to their shape and sharpness rather than the individuals on show.

“We’ve got many defenders here and I put Eric [Bailly] on to bolster the defence, following the runs of Trossard and Maupay,” Solskjaer said at his post-match press conference.

“For me, we’ve got enough good centre-backs here at the moment.

“When you concede chances and concede goals, there are two different things you can look at – it’s either the team shape, or are there any individual mistakes.

“We’re not in our best shape of form, our shape isn’t there, we’re not sharp enough to stop crosses or follow the runs.

“We’re a little bit behind, that’s more structural mistakes than individual mistakes. I thought Victor [Lindelof] did well today.”

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