Paul Scholes is concerned about how Manchester United will cope with Liverpool on Sunday after labelling the first half performance in their 3-2 win over Atalanta on Wednesday as ‘disastrous’.
The former United midfielder, who won 11 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues at the club, watched on as they fought from 2-0 down at half-time to defeat the Serie A club thanks to a dramatic 81st-minute winner from Cristiano Ronaldo.
Scholes says he can understand why fans would be pleased with the result, but feels United would have been punished for their first-half display against a stronger side.
Premier League
Klopp praises 'exceptional' Jota but says starting place 'not written in stone'
“I get the United excitement," he said post-match as a pundit for BT Sport. "That first half put me off the second half; if they were playing a better side they would have been out of sight.
“They [Atalanta] had five players missing. I get the excitement, but the display was something I did not enjoy, it was worrying, it lacked unity and to me, can they go and play against better teams like that? No.
"It was a great night but that first half was a major worry.
“For a neutral it was a great game, full of excitement and goals but I am being realistic about what is to come. I expect more from them, they cannot keep conceding chances like that. They were playing a decent team but not world class, you cannot get too carried away.
“You celebrate every win, [but] the first half really worried me. People say I am miserable, but I looked at that game thinking about Liverpool at the weekend and playing Manchester City [on November 6].”
Scholes feels the first-half performance would have delighted Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, and criticised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to start only two central midfielders – Scott McTominay and Fred - against Atalanta.
“If you play two central midfielders against them, it'll be three or four-nil and you aren't coming back,” he added.
“It was great seeing all the shooting and crosses in second half, but that first half worried me. They showed great spirit but they conceded so many chances, quality players make sure you don't win that game.
Will they play that well against Liverpool? Imagine Jurgen Klopp at home rubbing his hands together watching that first half.
“Atalanta had too much possession, I don't think the performance can be good when you are two down at home. I am miserable. I kept going back to that first half, which was disastrous."
He continued: "It is the formation that has been bad. Ole said before the game it was 4-2-4. I don't care who those two players are in the midfield, when you are playing against a good European team, you are going to get absolutely destroyed.
"Neither wide player is running back, Bruno Fernandes is making the odd effort to get back in and help them, but they will get destroyed.
"If Manchester United were playing a really good team, we could be looking at four or five."
Premier League
Klopp on Rangnick: ‘Unfortunately a good coach is coming to England'
26/11/2021 AT 13:11
Champions League
‘A coach’s dream’ - Klopp says Minamino has important part to play
24/11/2021 AT 16:04