Two wins and a draw in the last three games has eased pressure on the Red Devils, but the former defender questioned their energy levels
Manchester United’s pace, energy and fitness levels have been criticised by former defender Paul Parker, who believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are struggling to control matches as a result.
United impressed at Carrow Road in the first half of their 3-1 win over Norwich City , but they weren’t in control of the game for much of the second half and conceded a late goal after Scott McTominay lost possession and failed to track back.
Recalling ex-United winger Andrei Kanchelskis, Parker told Goal : “I had a Ukrainian train in front of me, and I could play it to his feet. But I could also play it into space as he was quicker than anyone.
“United don’t seem capable of running for a whole match like Andrei was, and they don’t have the pace and the energy of Lee Sharpe or Ryan Giggs, who would run the whole 90 minutes.
“They don’t have players with the physical toughness of Paul Ince, and I won’t even mention Roy Keane.
“United’s players don’t have the same physical strength. Andrei was so physically strong he could do keepy-uppies with a medicine round ball.”
The former United defender, who played under Sir Alex Ferguson from 1991-96, also noted that against Liverpool two weeks ago, United, “played their best hour of the season,” but dropped off for the last half hour so dramatically that, “it was not clear what they were even trying to do”.
As well as on-pitch fitness concerns, Solskjaer confirmed that Paul Pogba’s current injury will see him return to action no earlier than December , and he has been just one of several players who have endured long injury lay-offs since the start of the season.
Anthony Martial was at the heart of United’s win against Norwich on Sunday but had been out for weeks with an injury of his own.
Solskjaer left Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Diogo Dalot and other younger players in the treatment room, as the club have struggled to keep their squad fit in the early months of the Norwegian’s first full campaign as Old Trafford boss.
Parker questioned whether Solskjaer’s side are prepared or able to run in the later stages of games even after a pre-season working to improve fitness levels under Jose Mourinho’s replacement.
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When it came to running for the side under Ferguson’s era, Parker said: “We’d all pitch in. You’d get an acid tongue from the boss if you didn’t run.
“You don’t get the chance to carry too many people before it starts to reduce your own effectiveness, especially if you don’t have too much talent yourself.”
United face Chelsea on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup, with a chance to win three consecutive matches under Solskjaer for the first time since January this year.