Former Red Devils skipper Paul Ince did not hold back in an open letter questioning the management of the club from top to bottom
Former Manchester United captain Paul Ince has criticised the attitude of the Red Devils players and questioned the way the club has been being run in an explosive open letter to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
The former England international has accused the Old Trafford outfit of not being able to control the behaviour of their players, saying things would be different if Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge.
Ince also criticised individuals, labelling Jesse Lingard “bang average” and among a number of players who “think they’re bigger than the club”.
He also slammed France midfielder Paul Pogba for his “sly comments” to the media at the end of last season suggesting that he wanted to leave the club.
“There’s just so much about Manchester United that isn’t right,” Ince told Paddy Power magazine. “The footballing decisions have been mental for a few years now.
“The club has fallen far behind the pack. I’d like to think that they will recover, but I think we could be waiting a while.
“United are back in the Europa League, which has been depressing to even think about it, never mind speak about.
“You’ve got to realise that, while United have fallen behind, City and Liverpool have kept advancing. Don’t think for one minute that those teams will give United any chance to catch up, they’ll only slip further behind.
“It’s all about personnel for United now. How you improve not only the team but the club, from the top down. You have to start again from fresh.
“For me, a lot of the issues come down to the attitude of the squad. The players are doing exactly what they want, when they want, and there’s no control from above.
“It wouldn’t happen under Fergie and it wouldn’t happen under Pep Guardiola. Players are dictating to you and the board what they want – and that’s not on.
“I get it. You’re a banker – not a football man. You’re absolutely fantastic at bringing in profit and sponsorship deals but you can’t just keep throwing money away on players.
“You need someone in who gets football, who has the presence to deal with these players and tell them they can’t demand X, Y and Z from United. Tell them where to stick it.
“Players like Jesse Lingard think they’re bigger than the club and the manager. If Fergie was in charge they wouldn’t be doing it, they wouldn’t even still be at the club.
“Jesse has been bang average this year and if I’d performed the way he did last season the last thing I would do has been post anything on social media. The way he played last season he should be embarrassed.
“Then there’s Pogba – the man you spent £89 million on. Why did he wait until the end of the season to say he wants to go with a sly comment in the press? If you’re gonna say it, say it in front of those thousands of fans who go to watch you.”
The former England international also questioned the appointment of boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, saying someone with more experience should have been given the role in the aftermath of Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
The Norwegian, also a former United soccer professional, succeeded Mourinho initial on a caretaker basis late last year before landing the permanent job in March.
Solskjaer says he wants to change the philosophy at the club and focus on developing young players rather than more established stars, highlighted by the summer signings of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.
But Ince believes that strategy has been a mistake, though he says United must stick with Solskjaer for now in order to break the cycle of hiring and firing managers.
“On transfer business. I hear people say you need to get players in that will work hard and run around for the club – but it’s not about that,” Ince added.
“I can come in now and work hard and run about, even at my age. I mean, I wouldn’t last five minutes, but that’s not the criteria that you should want. It’s about quality players with the right spirit and attitude.
“Aaron Wan-Bissaka was signed for £55m, a lot of money for a full-back. Ole said he wanted to go down the route of bringing in younger, fresher talent and building the team that way – but that’s not the way to go.
“Do you see many youth players in Manchester City ’s team except Phil Foden? No, and they just won the league.
“Liverpool have a couple, but the majority of their team are senior, experienced players interspersed with youth.
“Youth players today aren’t the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. There’s just not that much coming through the academy.
“Yes, pick two or three youngsters but then integrate them with top class, top quality senior players – don’t rely on it.
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“Then there’s the manager. I said last season you should’ve gone with someone more experienced and I stand by that.
“But you have made your bed and now have to lie in it. You have tried the whole binning a manager after a year thing and it’s not worked. Now you have to stick with Ole.”
United begin their new Premier League campaign on Sunday when they host Chelsea at Old Trafford.