Former Millwall and Ireland midfielder Eamon Dunphy believes Jose Mourinho still needs to remove plenty of deadwood from his Manchester United side before he can think about challenging for the title.
Man United have only managed two Premier League wins since August and now find themselves nine points behind fourth placed Manchester City.
Their latest set-back – a 1-1 draw with Everton – served as another example of Mourinho’s men dominating but failing to win games.
Dunphy, speaking earlier this week, claimed Mourinho inherited a squad nowhere near the standards required to compete in a title race.
“He’s walked into a club that do not have the players to challenge for the championship and I don’t think even for a top-four spot,” he said.
“There are some very ordinary players playing for Manchester United and he’s got to try to do something with them.
“You had (Marcos) Rojo playing the last day.
“The total outlay for (Anthony) Martial was £35m and the add-ons could bring it up to £61m.
“He’s not a player at all really. He’s scored a few goals and every time he scores it costs United a million. That’s mad stuff.
“Mourinho inherited all that. He’s not the author of it but he hasn’t improved it with his demeanour, his behaviour and his criticism of players.”
The 53-year-old, upon arriving in June, claimed that he had inherited an ‘unhappy’ group of players. Indeed, the Louis van Gaal era did not merely sap United of creative endeavour; it actively diminished their sense of individuality.
This is far from Mourinho’s favoured first team squad – a notion illustrated further by the Portuguese’s reported desire to offload eight players over the next two transfer windows.
His biggest task, however, does not come in the form of various personnel changes; rather, this side – above anything – requires a complete psychological overhaul, removing the demons instilled by van Gaal’s totalitarian-like approach and replacing it with a ruthless, serial winning mentality. And this could take some time.