Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has given a withering verdict on the situation Erik ten Hag – the likely incoming Manchester United manager – will inherit this summer
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Graeme Souness accused Bruno Fernandes of letting himself down with acts of “petulance” in an extraordinary rant about the “car crash” situation at Manchester United.
The Red Devils secured an important Premier League victory on Saturday by defeating Norwich City 3-2 but the match unfolded in front of a toxic Old Trafford atmosphere. There were significant protests against the club’s owners, the Glazers, ahead of kick-off and the mood soured even further when United threw away their two-goal lead early in the second half.
Fortunately for Ralf Rangnick and Co., Cristiano Ronaldo completed his hat-trick to secure three vital points in the race for Champions League qualification. Despite the victory, Souness has no doubt Erik ten Hag – who is expected to be appointed manager this summer – is “walking into an absolute disaster”.
Discussing United while writing in The Times, the Liverpool legend added: “On the pitch, it has been a car crash of a club in the decade since [Sir Alex Ferguson] left. That’s down to consistently terrible football decisions. Whoever made them has not been a football person. Not one big-name signing since Fergie left has been an unqualified success. Bruno Fernandes comes closest but he’s had one good season and one indifferent one.
“To be a top player he has to cut out the petulance he shows towards his teammates.” Souness’ criticism was by no means limited to the United hierarchy and Fernandes, as he also took aim at Ronaldo and Raphael Varane, who joined last summer from Juventus and Real Madrid respectively. The former midfielder suspects Ronaldo is growing increasingly “frustrated” by not being able to start every match as he enters the twilight years of his career aged 37.
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Turning his attention to Varane, Souness claimed the centre-back is no longer the “same player he was five years ago”, when he was operating at the peak of his powers for Los Blancos and France. Rangnick himself confessed United’s performance was not up to scratch against Norwich even though Ronaldo inspired his side to victory. “After we scored our second goal we should have made life easier for ourselves but we didn’t,” the interim manager said.
“We lost our structure and weren’t aggressive enough. It’s about being clever and smart. All of a sudden it was 2-2 and David de Gea kept us in the game. But we definitely have to raise our play.” The Red Devils return to action on Tuesday night as they make the trip to bitter rivals Liverpool.