The team, according to former Manchester United winger Nani, lacks a fighting mentality and doesn’t follow Bruno Fernandes’ lead.
Before joining Fenerbahce in 2015, the 36-year-old spent a season-long loan back at Sporting CP after winning 12 trophies during his seven years at Old Trafford.
Although Nani is currently playing for Turkish Super Lig club Adana Demirspor, he addressed the current problem at his former team, which grew worse on Wednesday when Newcastle United crushed United 3-0 at home to conclude United’s EFL Cup defense.
Nani told Portuguese podcast ‘1 PARA 1’ that “when we used to play at Manchester [United], one of the things that defined the club was that you could be losing 3-0 with 15 minutes, 10 minutes left in a game, and that’s when you saw what mental strength means.” Erik ten Hag is under increasing pressure after the team had its worst start to a season since 1962.
“It’s no longer about talent, it’s about pushing the ball into the goal. We did that, we did what was necessary.
“Now, when you watch Manchester play, you see a lot of talent, maybe more talent than in our time in terms of technique, and they’re all technically gifted. But when you watch the game, there’s no spirit of sacrifice, no fighting spirit… A real player, a star, at Manchester, has to unlock the game; if they don’t, it won’t work.”
Other former United players, including as Roy Keane and Gary Neville, have criticized Fernandes. Keane has said that Fernandes should be relieved of his leadership following yet another irrational performance in last weekend’s derby loss to Manchester City.
But Nani said of his fellow countryman: “Manchester already has great players. We have Bruno Fernandes. If Bruno Fernandes wasn’t playing well, I’d criticise him too, but for example, the sacrifice and effort he puts into the game, he does it. We see it. He works hard, gives his all, and contributes. It’s just that many others don’t keep up with it.”