Man Utd defensive woes continue with away run worst for 34 years

John Fleck’s first half goal for Sheffield United means the Red Devils’ defensive struggles on the road continue

Manchester United are now on their longest run without a clean sheet on the road since 1986 after John Fleck opened the scoring for Sheffield United on Sunday.

Fleck bundled home the rebound from close range after John Lundstram’s shot had been saved by David de Gea to put the Blades in front after 19 minutes at Bramall Lane.

It means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have now failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 12 Premier League away games, their worst run in the competition and worst in the top flight since a run of 15 in the 1985-86 campaign 34 years ago.

De Gea had already made two smart stops in quick succession from Lundstram and David McGoldrick as Sheffield United dominated the early proceedings.

Phil Jones, who struggled on his first start of the season, was then barged off the ball by Lys Mousset, with his cross eventually converted by Fleck for his second goal of the season. The former Blackburn defender was taken off at half-time and replaced by Jesse Lingard.

The Red Devils’ last clean sheet in the Premier League came in early February courtesy of a 3-0 win at Fulham, who would be relegated at the end of the season.

Solskjaer had recently stated his belief that the club’s struggles on the road were behind them after three away wins in a week against Partizan in the Europa League, Norwich in the Premier League and then Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.

The win over Partizan was their first away victory in any competition since that dramatic 3-1 Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain in March, with the club losing six and drawing four in that time.

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However, their away woes returned with a 1-0 defeat against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium earlier this month courtesy of Josh King’s goal against his former club.

They responded to that defeat in fine style, defeating Partizan once more in the Europa League at Old Trafford before dispatching Brighton at the same venue four days later.

They went into Sunday’s game in 10th place, one point and two places behind Sheffield United, who knew victory would lift them back up to fifth.

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