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One glaring issue Man Utd must pay attention to against Chelsea

These are critical weeks for Manchester United after a 1-1 draw at Brentford diminished their chances of closing the gap on the Champions League spots.

Despite being on the back foot for most of Saturday’s encounter, the Red Devils nearly walked away with all three points before Kristoffer Ajer’s last-gasp strike sealed a stalemate at the Brentford Community Stadium.

In a game marred with injuries, Erik ten Hag’s side grabbed the lead through Mason Mount’s breakthrough goal but failed to hold onto their stoppage-time lead in the final seconds.

However, a point was nothing more than Brentford deserved after hitting the woodwork twice before half-time and accumulating a staggering 31 shots on goal.

The Bees’ current position in the standings and a long-standing result crisis put additional weight on this statisitc, but it’s been a common theme of Man Utd’s season.

Only Sheffield United and Luton Town have faced more shots than the Old Trafford outfit across Europe’s top-five leagues this term. That lackadaisical attitude requires Ten Hag’s undivided attention.

United can’t always rely on their opponents’ profligacy, even though that’s been the Achilles heel of their upcoming rivals Chelsea.

Man Utd outclassed the Blues in December’s reverse fixture at the Theatre of Dreams, doubling their shots count but still allowing 13 attempts towards Andre Onana’s goal.

Restricting Mauricio Pochettino’s side to a similar figure on Thursday would be an achievement, considering the Red Devils’ tendency to jangle fans’ nerves on their travels.

Since a dramatic 4-3 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers at the start of February, Ten Hag’s men have conceded 20+ shots in four consecutive Premier League away games.

Man Utd have faced a combined 103 shots during this nightmarish sequence and still gathered seven points. But that’s an ominous pattern that must be addressed quickly.

While they got away with such disastrous defensive work against Aston Villa and Luton Town, Manchester City and Brentford denied them victories despite United taking the lead on both occasions.

Ten Hag will hopefully pay attention to this at Stamford Bridge, as the Red Devils desperately need a victory to reduce a nine-point deficit on fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

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