The Red Devils put in an impressive Champions League performance against Istanbul Basaksehir, but maintaining those standards has been a problem
Manchester United still have “massive question marks” hanging over their centre-halves, says Paul Parker, with the former Red Devils full-back saying “you don’t know what you’re going to get next” from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Inconsistency remains an issue for United, with the 2020-21 campaign doing little to address those faults.
There have been positives, such as a run to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup and impressive results in the Champions League, but momentum has proved difficult to maintain.
A 4-1 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir in their most recent outing has United moving in the right direction again, while their Premier League hoodoo on home soil was brought to a close in a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
However, Parker believes Solskjaer will continue to pay the price for a lack of domestic ambition and the struggles of those at the heart of his back four.
The ex-Red Devils defender told Eurosport: “You don't know what you're going to get next with United. They've got a difficult game at the weekend at Southampton, so if they don't get a result there the whole process starts again.
“They won a game on Tuesday they should have won away from home earlier in the group stage. Team selection is key, so if they go out and play with the intention to win it and not concentrate too much about who they're playing against, that always gives them a better chance.
“The problem they've got is that as attack-minded as they are, there will still always be massive question marks about the centre-halves, because even [against Basaksehir] they were on edge.
“Because they've won three on the bounce, that doesn't say United are back. The way the Premier League is at the moment, no one is on stable ground.
“There's a good chance Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will go back to two holding midfield players, non-creative players in midfield, and then in the Champions League go back to what he did against Istanbul.
“It's about the state of mind that the players go out against Southampton in. If you see Fred and [Scott] McTominay playing that will give you a picture of how the game might be. Southampton would break that down easier.
“I don't think the players feel freer in the Champions League, Solskjaer certainly doesn't because he knows every game he's under pressure. United are always walking on a tightrope.”
United sit 10th in the Premier League table after eight games and have another 10 fixtures to take in across all competitions before the end of the calendar year.