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exclusive Manchester United won't win the title - they lack the killer instinct of champions

Chance to lay down a title marker goes abegging with Ole's jigsaw still incomplete


Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United battles with Leicester's Youri Tielemans

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United battles with Leicester's Youri Tielemans

Getty Images

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United battles with Leicester's Youri Tielemans

Manchester United missed a chance to make a real statement on Saturday against Leicester.

On St Stephen's Day 12 months ago, Liverpool went to Leicester City and won 4-0.

It put them clear at the top of the table - and though they had to wait until the summer to be crowned champions, that match told us Liverpool had this tied up, that their wait to be crowned champions of England was coming to an end.

United could have planted themselves right in the title chase with a win at the same King Power Stadium.

They played some great football, led twice, but the killer instinct was not there.

Perhaps that is a factor of having so many young players.

But there is enough experience at the club - De Gea, Pogba, Cavani - to guide the youngsters through the inevitable troughs that come with being a young professional footballer.

For me, the team just didn't power on from their 1-0 and 2-1 advantages in this one.

That's what the great teams do. Once they have scored, they go looking for another goal straightaway.

This Manchester United outfit just doesn't do that.

They seem to say to themselves, 'Right, we're ahead, let's take 10 minutes to see what happens here'.

And what happens is that the opposition comes roaring back into the game and levels it.

My take on it is that United were good enough to win this match. But never mind being inconsistent from game to game, they are now throwing in a poor 20 minutes or a half an hour or so in the middle of a match that is undoing all their good work for the rest of the contest.


Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer


Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

It must be so frustrating for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He has so many pieces of the jigsaw of a really good side - but he is still missing a couple of key ones.

Another quality centre-back is a real need. Will he go out and get one next month?

Will the board back their manager with money now, when there are no fans at games, and get themselves a quality player who might be the difference between ending the season with a piece of silverware - or finishing it empty-handed!

Can lightning strike twice for Ole after getting Bruno Fernandes in last January's transfer window?

The midfielder was superb again on Saturday, surely he has been the best player in the Premier League in this year that we'll never forget.

That pass, early on, for the chance that Marcus Rashford ought to have converted into a goal, was just sublime.

He scored a goal and laid on other quality passes, too - he is the real deal.

One thing worries me. He's going to play twice for Portugal against Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers next year.

And he's going to be laying on those passes to Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Jota. I don't like that prospect at all!

Liverpool's surprise draw against West Brom at Anfield last night has offered a glimmer of hope to the chasing the pack.

The Red Devils, with a game in hand, are just five points off top spot.


Harvey Barnes of Leicester City is challenged by Eric Bailly

Harvey Barnes of Leicester City is challenged by Eric Bailly

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Harvey Barnes of Leicester City is challenged by Eric Bailly

However, every time that United make a modest move forward, they seem to slide again in the next game.

I don't believe they will win the title this season, because they will not be able to do something that champions do in every campaign, that is go on a sustained run of, say, 10 matches, where they win eight and draw two.

I just don't see that sort of surge of excellence being in this Manchester United group right now.

As for Leicester, they are an admirable side who will keep battling under Brendan Rodgers' guidance.

But they, too, really needed to win the game to put anything remotely resembling pressure on Liverpool.

They are still relying on the stars of that famous Premier League win of 2016.

Kasper Schmeichel made one world-class save yesterday, Marc Albrighton is still scurrying up and down the wing, and Jamie Vardy is always a goal threat.

Vardy's movement for the second Leicester equaliser was a joy to watch.

Yes, it was a scuffed connection and the ball took a little deflection on the way to the net, too.

But the way Vardy lost the Manchester United centre-halves, with one step into space, was just special.

Only the best strikers can leave a centre-half for dead like that with an instinctive movement.

In fairness, I really do like one of the new boys. Wesley Fofana is a cracking prospect at centre-half.

He only turned 20 last week, but he read the game and senses danger, in the way a veteran defender does.

Fofana can also bring the ball out from the defence very comfortably - something that is hugely important now as football coaches all over the world move towards having their lads at the back playing in that manner.

He could be a really huge player for Leicester for the next decade or so - or perhaps what is more likely, they will sell this French lad in three or four years' time for millions of pounds.

I'm convinced most of the top clubs in the world will be looking for him by then. I'll be amazed if they're not.

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