Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s flops need to front up with some home truths in the dressing room.
The Red Devils have endured a miserable start to the season, with Tottenham thrashing them 6-1 ahead of the international break to pile the pressure on the manager.
That came after a shock season-opening Premier League defeat by Crystal Palace and a fortunate victory over Brighton; performances that have led former captain Roy Keane to claim that “too many bluffers” will see Solskjaer sacked.
And former England international Parker feels the current group lack the “identities” needed to call each other out when times get tough.
“You look at those results and the players have lost their way now, you can see it,” said Parker, who is supporting Prostate Cancer UK’s online risk checker campaign.
“You cannot forgive them for that, because you are looking for them to add that little bit of self-motivation and pride.
“That bit of pride to say: ‘we are not going to go on and concede that many’.
“There should have been a lot more fight – football has changed, there was a lot more self-motivated players in my time than there is now.
“United are missing players with identities, who have come into the club from places where they have had to dig deep and they have come in looking to achieve and win things.
“When you look at someone like Bruno Fernandes, he wants to prove a point – he has come from a massive club, a very famous club in Portugal, and has come to United looking to prove himself again, and you cannot knock that.
“But maybe some of the players they are getting in, a few of them are content, happy to be there, and think that it is an easy ride.
“That is the big difference – when I joined United a few players were keeping an eye on me to see what I was going to do. Was I just content to be there or did I want to join them and help them, to make their life easier in winning trophies?
“At this moment in time, I am looking at Manchester United, and they have become a ‘buy buy’ club. However, a lot of the work has to be done on the training field, but with the right people.
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“You have to voice an opinion at individuals – are you going to accept if you have made a mistake and not taken responsibility that I am going to point my finger in your face? I am going to turn around and tell the home truth, maybe at half-time or after a game.
“How are you going to deal with that? Are you going to try to prove me wrong or are you going to sulk, blank me and go to talk to your agent?
“Or are you going to have the character to accept what you have or have not done, then go out and prove me wrong in the second half or in the next game?
“Building a team by how much individuals cost doesn’t always guarantee anything, because it is just about finding players who talk to each other.”
Prostate cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK. To help men understand their risk, Prostate Cancer UK has launched an online risk checker at prostatecanceruk.org/riskcheck