Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba may form a “fabulous front five” at Manchester United, but Owen Hargreaves claims the quintet offered nothing in a shock 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United.
The Red Devils entered their last Premier League fixture knowing that victory over rock-bottom opponents would lift them back to the top of the table.
Collective lines were fluffed at Old Trafford as the Blades stunned the hosts and returned to South Yorkshire with a notable scalp secured.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have managed to steer clear of such setbacks over recent weeks, with moments of match-altering brilliance digging them out of plenty of holes – especially away from home.
Fernandes, Pogba, Rashford and Co have been relied upon to step up when it matters most, but they all failed to deliver on a frustrating night for all concerned against relegation-threatened rivals.
Reflecting on a forgettable showing from the Red Devils, former United midfielder Hargreaves told Premier League Productions: “I can’t really remember Aaron Ramsdale having to make any saves. They just weren’t at it.
“Offensively or defensively. You think about Rashford, Martial, Greenwood, Pogba and Fernandes – that fabulous front five didn’t really create anything.
“Defensively, they were quite vulnerable at times. Even though their form has been fabulous, Solskjaer will be disappointed they just weren’t at the races.”
The Red Devils have, for the most part, been able to eradicate defensive errors this season, with forward momentum established as a result.
They did, however, look vulnerable against the Blades, with David de Gea failing to deal with danger for the first goal of the night, while Oliver Burke was given two bites of the cherry before firing in a deflected winner.
“Solskjaer will be furious with the transition initially,” Hargreaves added on the effort that ultimately downed a team looking to maintain a long-awaited title challenge.
“I don’t think Sheffield United wanted to attack but because the front four didn’t want to come back, there was only really two blocks. The Sheffield United players thought, ‘wow, there is a chance here’. They joined in slowly.
“Credit to Burke, he’s not a goalscorer, he just sat in that pocket of space in between the lines. [Alex] Telles and [Nemanja] Matic swapped positions and that created a tiny bit of confusion.
“Burke is away from Telles, Pogba and Fernandes and they just react a little bit late.”