Scottish football pundit Craig Burley believes Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is making a huge mistake by deploying Daley Blind as a centre-back.
The former Chelsea midfielder went as far as to say that Van Gaal is on the verge of committing “football suicide” after confirming Blind will start in central defence against Tottenham on August 8.
“Blind as a left-sided centre-back is just football suicide,” Burley told talkSPORT. “He’s too weak, he’s got no positional sense, he’s not very strong in the air and he will be outmuscled.”
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Burley’s damning verdict came after Blind’s unconvincing displays on the Red Devils’ pre-season tour of the United States.
The versatile Dutchman played the majority of his matches in central midfield last season, before taking over from the injured Luke Shaw at left-back in the second half of the campaign. But due to Marcos Rojo’s recent passport issues, the 25-year-old will be tasked with stopping Tottenham’s Harry Kane in central defence during United’s Premier League opener.
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Burley: Poor defence could cost United the title
Van Gaal revealed after Wednesday night’s 2-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain that he isn’t sure whether it will be Chris Smalling or Phil Jones who occupies the right centre-back position - but Burley believes Manchester United are in desperate need of another top central defender due to Blind’s deficiencies in that position.
In fact, he believes it could be a problem which ultimately costs United a chance of winning the Premier League title.
“It is one big gaping hole and they badly need to strengthen,” he continued. “They need to fill it and I don’t think it will see them through. There is not a pairing there that will fill me with confidence.
"They have got to make something happen before the transfer window closes. The Ramos thing is looking more dead by the day but it is of paramount importance to get one, if not two, centre-backs in.
“The business they have done so far looks good. They have not spent ridiculous money, they have refreshed some areas of the squad, but it will all go do down the drain if they don’t plug this hole at the back.”
Daley Blind is an average player
Although a favourite of Van Gaal because of his reliability and versatility, Blind looked distinctly ordinary in central midfield last season.
He looked better in the left full-back position, where he impressed during last summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil with the Netherlands, but has failed to convince in central defence during pre-season.
Some United fans are surprised that Van Gaal has not signed a new centre-back this summer. Sergio Ramos, Mats Hummels and Nicolas Otamendi have all been linked with a move to the Red Devils over recent months, but none of them are likely to end up at Old Trafford by September 1.
However, Van Gaal could be forced to spend big late in the transfer window if his side fail to pick up sufficient points during the opening weeks of the 2015-16 campaign.
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