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Manchester United were 'bullied' by Leicester says Gary Neville

Louis van Gaal’s men twice led by two goals at King Power Stadium but conceded four times to fall to a humiliating 5-3 defeat and the former defender says they are soft-centred

Daley Blind, Wayne Rooney and Radamel Falcao.
Daley Blind, Wayne Rooney and Radamel Falcao.

FORMER MANCHESTER UNITED defender Gary Neville claims Louis van Gaal’s team are “soft-centred” and were “bullied” by Leicester City.

United – who finished seventh last term – embarked on a lavish spending spree in the summer transfer window, parting with more than €190 million in a desperate bid to return to former glories.

The acquisitions of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Ander Herrera have excited the club’s supporters but a failure to significantly strengthen their defence has been widely questioned.

And United’s frailties were exposed by newly-promoted Leicester on Sunday as they threw away a 3-1 lead, conceding four second-half goals to fall to an embarrassing 5-3 defeat at King Power Stadium.

United have won just one of their six matches this season and sit 12th in the Premier League table, and Neville – who made over 600 appearances and won eight titles for the club – provided a withering assessment of their latest performance. “There’s no doubt Manchester United are soft-centred,” he told Sky Sports.

“They’re not tough enough. Going forward they’re a lot better than they have been in the last 12-18 months and that’s a positive. But in the first half, every ball that got played forward from distance, a Leicester player won it, whether it was the first ball or the second ball. In the second half, a decision goes against them but make no mistake about it they’re soft-centred.

“I thought the midfield three for United and the back four got bullied.”

Herrera put United 3-1 up in the 57th minute but David Nugent’s 62nd-minute penalty changed the complexion of the game. Esteban Cambiasso marked his home debut with a well-taken equaliser before further strikes to man-of-the-match Jamie Vardy and two-goal hero Leonardo Ulloa settled the contest.

And Neville warns there may well be further setbacks for United this season unless they improve significantly. “Credit to Leicester and Vardy and Ulloa – they really ran them ragged,” he added.

“It wasn’t intricate play or world-class football, it was just hard work. “Grit, hard work, with a bit of quality mixed in with it and United couldn’t deal with the physicality of that team.

“[United's] three goals were brilliant, they were absolutely fantastic goals but, they’re going to get done week in, week out. That was a proper test for them today against Leicester.”

 - Goal.com

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