Paul Ince: Man United lack leaders and they need a long look at themselves

The former Manchester United midfielder lays into the club after their European calamity – accusing Pogba of sulking, Sanchez of regretting his move, and the fans of complacency.


“I knew how enormous it was to wear a United shirt. I’m not sure these players do.”

Man United played into Sevilla’s hands on Tuesday night. They went into the game, didn’t even look to be pushing for a goal and sat back, letting them dictate the game. It’s ludicrous!

Yes, this United team has faults, but it doesn’t matter which variation you play on the pitch – they should be able to beat Sevilla at home.

The entire team need to take a long look at themselves after that performance, as well as the fans and the manager.

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They thought they could suddenly show up when Sevilla scored, but they didn’t. That complacency, and lack of desire, is the reason they aren’t in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

I can also say for a fact that if me, Bryan Robson or Roy Keane were on that pitch and the game had started like that, it would be a different story. There’s not one leader in that entire United team. Not one player who can get a grip of the game, organise the players and make a difference.

In fact, I didn’t see any player take another to one side and say ‘this isn’t good enough, we need to get a grip.’

They were all playing for themselves, rather than encouraging each other.

Your top players, Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, David De Gea and Alexis Sanchez, should be able to stand up when the team is in trouble like that and change the game. None of them were capable, and I believe that says a lot.

I didn’t see any organisation on Tuesday, not in one element of the pitch.

Sanchez keeps trying to do things, and make things happen, but the more he does the worse the team gets.

I’d bet that he probably wished he’d waited until the end of the season and gone to another team. It’s evident, from watching United since he joined, that he doesn’t suit how Jose Mourinho plays football. You could see him fitting in at Manchester City better.

Maybe Jose’s plan is to bring in players that do suit the way Lukaku, Sanchez and Pogba play, but how much more can you spend to satisfy other players? They need to look at themselves and how they’re playing, rather than relying on others to help them out.

I knew how enormous it was to wear a Man United shirt when I did, but I’m not sure these players do.

Pogba was ‘sulky’

A player I’ve never criticised is Pogba, he’s been an easy scapegoat for a lot of poor performances. In fact, I’ve always backed him. But, I started to see why some pundits and fans moan about him on Tuesday. I’d describe his performance, in one word, as ‘sulky’.

He came on and looked totally disinterested. I can understand he was probably annoyed at Marouane Fellaini being chosen ahead of him, but you shouldn’t take those frustrations out on the rest of the team and the happiness of the fans.

Irrespective of what’s going on, whether you’ve been having a tough time of it lately or you’re feeling irritated at not being selected, you need to appreciate what an honour it is to be at Old Trafford.

And you need to put a shift in, if not for yourself but for the sake of your teammates and loyal fans.

Fans as bad as the team

The United players didn’t turn up against Sevilla – they looked disinterested. But the fans were just as bad. Yes, they were fantastic for the away game, but not at home.

It was the opposite of the Liverpool game on Saturday. There was absolutely no atmosphere – you could hear a pin drop. It honestly looked like a reserve game where just one bloke and his dog had turned up.

It certainly wasn’t a ‘famous European night at Old Trafford’.

You go back to some of those Champions League nights of old, and it looks like a totally different club. Not just because of the players, or the way football has changed, but the noise in the stadium too.

Everyone was vocal and doing everything they could to support the team. People say it’s down to the players to get the fans going, but in my experience, it works both ways.

Even more importantly, they made Old Trafford a scary place to visit. Looking at how the atmosphere was last night; I don’t think any team will be frightened of going there anymore.

There was a total sense of complacency from the team, fans and manager.

They went into the game with false confidence after their win against Liverpool – which was an important result – but was it more important than staying in the Champions League? No.

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