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This is what Manchester United should do to get their season back on track

Even Newport County, 13th in League Two, managed 17 shots in their FA Cup tie with United in January.

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Manchester United has been having a horrible season, struggling to gain and maintain any form of momentum and consistency.

They have struggled to put together attacks and a style of play and as a result, they have only managed to outscore 7 teams in the Premier League. That in itself is bad enough but combining that with such a leaky defence has spelt so much trouble for the Red Devils.

If Manchester United are to turn their fortunes around, they simply have to strengthen their defence.

They have been complacent of allowing opponents to cut through them at will and fire away at André Onana’s goal all season.

In United’s past 10 league games, their opponents have had a combined 185 shots; for contrast, Arsenal and Manchester City have faced only 232 in the Premier League all season.

Even Newport County, 13th in League Two, managed 17 shots in their FA Cup tie with United in January.

Last season, Ten Hag’s first at the club, United faced 482 shots in 38 Premier League matches at a rate of 12.6 per game.

This season, it’s jumped to 16.7 shots per game, and in 10 games (against Manchester City twice, Everton twice, Wolves, Newcastle, Liverpool West Ham, Aston Villa and Luton) they’ve faced 20 or more.

This is completely unacceptable for any Manchester United side.

Part of the reason has been defensive injuries.

Erik ten Hag has barely been able to field his preferred back 4 of Diogo Dalot, Rapha Varane, Lisandro Martínez and Luke Shaw.

To put the personnel woes into context, ten Hag has had to use 11 different centre back pairings this season, and it is nigh on impossible to build any kind of rhythm or familiarity in a team that’s constantly changed.

Jonny Evans and Varane have been the most paired centre backs playing together, only 7 times.

Compared to last season where ten Hag had his preferred duo of Varane and Licha paired together 22 times, it has been a rough season injury-wise.

The way Ten Hag has set his team up defensively for much of the season has been determined in part by the players he’s had available.

This notwithstanding, Manchester United certainly have to improve their defending if there is any hope of saving this wretched season.

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