Thierry Henry delivers firm message towards Man United players

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has delivered a clear message to Manchester United players about how they should be performing for the club.

His comments came after the Red Devils drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie. Anthony Elanga rescued a draw with a well-taken 80th-minute equaliser.

However, although the result may have been satisfactory, United were second-best for most of the evening, barring a late flourish.

Defensive structure and stability was again an issue. Joao Felix‘s powerful header gave Atletico the lead on seven minutes, but he was left unmarked in the centre of the penalty area. David de Gea had no chance of keeping the ball out of the net.

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At the other end, they managed just two shots on target throughout the match. Elanga’s run in behind and cool finish was a rare moment of quality on the night.

Attention now turns back to the Premier League. United currently sit in fourth position on 46 points. They are four points ahead of Arsenal, who are sixth, but Mikel Arteta’s side have three games in hand.

Throughout Ralf Rangnick’s tenure, United have unquestionably improved in certain areas. Although they are still struggling defensively, it is a far cry from the later weeks of the reign of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Red Devils shipped five goals against Liverpool at Old Trafford before conceding four at Watford. The 4-1 defeat to the Hornets was Solskjaer’s last game in charge.

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Rangnick has also tried to introduce a high-pressing style with mixed success.

Thierry Henry analyses Manchester United problems

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry covered United’s 1-1 draw against Atletico on CBS Sports, alongside Jamie Carragher. He protected the German coach from criticism and instead pointed the finger at the players, referencing past examples of United managers who have borne the brunt of the criticism.

He said: “I don’t normally like to have a go at players. But as you said, you had a teacher like Louis van Gaal. Successful. They called Jose Mourinho ‘the dictator’ because he’s too much into this, too much into that, whatever. He was too direct with the players, and they didn’t like it.

“Suddenly, you have a friend. They liked Solskjaer because he was more of a dad, a nice guy.

“When is it going to be the players? When is it going to be about the players? They have to deliver. I repeat, it’s Man United.

“I’m not a Man United fan, but when you play for Man United, you have to deliver. Regardless of who the coach is. It cannot always be the coach. I’m sorry. Those guys need to perform and start to understand where they are.”

The comments of Thierry Henry will surely resonate with some Manchester United fans. The Red Devils have not won the Premier League since 2013. Their last trophy was in May 2017, when they won the Europa League under Jose Mourinho.

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In addition, United are already out of the FA Cup and Carabao Cup this season. They face a battle to qualify for the Champions League next season. They currently remain in Europe’s premier competition for the time being – but they face a monumental task to get anywhere close to winning it.

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