Manchester United have been 'really embarrassing' against Premier League's top six this season, says Jamie Carragher

United are the only team who haven't scored a goal against a club in the top six this season, and given the £430m they've spent in three years, Carragher believes that's not good enough

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The Independent Football

Jamie Carragher has labelled the tactics that Jose Mourinho deployed in Manchester United’s defeat by Arsenal last weekend “embarrassing” after highlighting the fact that his side have not scored an away goal against any top six side this season, despite spending more than £430m on new players over the last three seasons.

United suffered a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates to all but rule them out of the top four hunt and pin all of their Champions League hopes on the Europa League, something Mourinho was happy to do as he made eight changes in an effort to keep his players fresh for this Thursday’s semi-final second leg against Celta Vigo.

But the loss also represented the fourth time that United have failed to score away from home when taking on one of the top six sides ahead of them, leaving Mourinho with just one more chance to rid his team of that unwanted tag when they take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane this weekend.

Former Liverpool defender Carragher was left far from impressed with how Mourinho has set up his sides in United’s biggest games this season, and he did not hold back when giving his assessment of Sunday’s defeat by the Gunners.

“It is not right that United have not scored away from home against a top six team this season,” Carragher said on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football.

“For Manchester United with the manager they have, the players on the pitch, the money they spend it is embarrassing really that they can't score a goal in those games.

“It comes from Mourinho and the way he sets up his teams.

“Jose Mourinho, whenever he is in a game that he feels in 50-50 or maybe the opposition have the slight edge on them, his first thought is to nullify, kill the game, ‘What are they good at? Finish it’.”

Carragher’s criticism also highlighted the fact that in United’s four away games against Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal, they have recorded a cumulative 11 shots on target. But his negative remarks over Mourinho’s tactics this season did not sit well with co-pundit Gary Neville, with the former United defender insisting that the Portuguese manager would be able to play expansive football once he has his squad at his disposal, and not the remnants of the one that Louis van Gaal left behind last season.

“I think he has found a formula to get him through these big games but this season is not acceptable to Manchester United in the Premier League by any stretch,” said Neville.

“When he has an inferior team to the opposition he will try and nullify them completely.

Mourinho's United have not scored against a top six side away from home this season (Getty)

“I would expect Manchester United to go away from home in any big game - historically - whether it be Beckham, Keane, Scholes and Giggs, against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, 10-15 years ago, you'd be 4-4-1-1 and you'd have to be compact.

“Mourinho has only signed four players for Manchester United, once he's signed eight to 10 and he is a year further forward I'd be asking the question then if he's still playing a back six.”

Neville defended Mourinho and expects he will do better next season with more of his own players (Getty)

Neville also defended Mourinho over United’s lack of goals scored this season, and labelled the 2016/17 campaign a “freak” occurrence given his teams are usually ranked highly for the number of times they find the back of the net, with United’s current haul of 51 13 goals shy of his previous worse record  - with Chelsea in 2006/07 – and less than half of the record 121 goals his 2011/12 Real Madrid side scored.

“If you look at his career record for goals scored, [this season] is an absolute freak,” Neville added. “Jose Mourinho has always been second or first in terms of goal scoring.

“This season is the freak. This is probably the worst performing team that Jose Mourinho has managed in the last 10-15 years of his career.”