Former Man Utd ace Paul Ince has picked out the two key attributes that are missing from the current squad which has contributed to their struggles.
The Red Devils sit down in 12th place in the Premier League table after eight games as they’ve continued their troubles from the end of last season.
After an initial upturn in form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following his arrival last December, they haven’t kicked on since he penned a long-term deal and are failing to show an ability to compete for a top-four finish in the league.
Ince enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at Old Trafford, and he has suggested that the current crop are lacking in mentality and a crucial presence on and off the pitch which has left them vulnerable and exposed by opponents both domestically and in Europe.
“It’s all about mentality,” he told Sportsmail. “You have to have people and characters. The biggest thing for us was we had a presence.
“In the tunnel we had already beaten most teams before even going out on the pitch.
“They get the best of everything financially and the pitches are great so they have that mentality where they are a bit soft. I watched United play Newcastle the other week and I saw them tackled and just rolling over.
“I wanted them to get up and get on with it, they were 1-0 down you know. That mentality we had, these players haven’t got that now. You don’t get those players anymore and this is the problem United have.
“That time (under Ferguson) has gone and we need to find another way to be successful.”
Time will tell if that’s something that some of these younger players can develop over time, or if Man Utd can identify more signings moving forward who can provide them with that steeliness and solidity on the pitch.
However, the best way to build a winning mentality and aura is to win games and dominate the opposition, and based on what we’ve seen so far this season, that is something that United are struggling with currently and perhaps it says a lot about the lack of quality in the squad.
While many have praised Solskjaer’s strategy and direction by trusting in young players and building for a long-term future, they let key experienced players leave this past summer and surely didn’t do enough to fill those voids and assemble a squad with a winning mentality and presence as Ince notes above.