The Red Devils have struggled against other ‘big six’ clubs this season (Pictures: Getty Images)

Paul Scholes believes Manchester United’s struggles in big games this season can be traced back to their centre-backs, while he criticised Bruno Fernandes for not stepping up against Chelsea.

The Red Devils have only scored once against their ‘big six’ rivals in the league this season – in a 6-1 defeat to Spurs – and have picked up just five points from a possible 21 across seven games.

That run continued at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, playing out a fourth successive goalless draw against one of their rivals – but Scholes believes their attacking issues stem from the defence, not the forwards.

Scholes feels Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are holding United back (Picture: Getty)

‘A lot of the problems I see are them two centre-halves and goalkeeper – well, not so much goalkeeper today – but the centre-halves need protecting,’ Scholes told Premier League Productions.

‘Which means you’ve got to have your two holding midfield players right next to them all the time and it takes away everything from your attacking ability.

‘They don’t get up the pitch, they can’t keep the ball in the last third of the pitch because they can’t sustain attacks because they’re too deep.

‘And this is a recurring them now that keeps going on. If they’re going to get to that next level they’ve got to be braver, they’ve got to be braver in the centre of the pitch.

‘The two centre-halves, leave them, let them defend. Who are you playing against? An average Chelsea forward. Not average, because I like [Olivier] Giroud, but he’s not going to run away from anyone. He’s perfect for them two today.

‘Mason Mount isn’t going to run away from them, [Hakim] Ziyech isn’t quick, no pace. They’ve got nothing to worry about.

‘Let your midfield players join in attacks and at least contribute something to the attacking side of the game.’

Fernandes was also criticised by Scholes after an ineffective display (Picture: Getty)

United created few clear-cut chances against Chelsea, with usual talisman Fernandes setting up just one opportunity and not mustering a single shot on target, and Scholes believes he needs to start affecting these big matches.

He continued: ‘They’ve got to change it, the quality has got to be better. The big players have got to step up.

‘Again Fernandes today, I can’t remember him doing anything. I don’t remember him creating a chance, I don’t remember him having a shot on goal.

‘I don’t remember Mendy, other than a couple of times, being brought into the game. So the quality is disappointing, they’ve got to get it better against these big clubs.’


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