Manchester United should be praised for their “cautious” approach in the big games this season, not berated for failing to score enough goals.
That is the opinion of former Liverpool man Danny Murphy.
The Red Devils played out a 0-0 draw at Chelsea on Sunday, their fifth goalless result against a fellow ‘big six’ club this term.
But instead of being criticised for not getting onto the front foot more, Murphy thinks Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s defensive masterclasses should be heralded considering how leaky their backline was at the start of the season.
He wrote in his BBC Column: “Sunday was not the first time this season that Manchester United have been cautious in a big Premier League game – they have done it plenty of times before, either against historical rivals or teams around them in the table.
“It is easy to jump on that statistic and say ‘this is United’, and they should they be doing better in those matches and beating their rivals, to get closer to City at the top of the table.
“I am sure Solskjaer and his staff will look back and think that in one or two of them they could have been a bit more on the front foot – their 0-0 draw against a depleted Liverpool at Anfield in January, for example.
“But there is another side to it – you have to remember Manchester United have still picked up some good points along the way, and they have not conceded many goals either, just one in fact.
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“Their 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham in October probably started this, and made Solskjaer think that his side have to become harder to beat when they play the top teams.
“So, that’s been their mindset going into these matches, and that has helped put them in second place, unbeaten away from home in the Premier League and with only one defeat anywhere in their past 20 league games.
“Solskjaer must be pleased they have not become an easy touch, when they were wide open for a while at the start of the season.”