Manchester United players are always going to be “under pressure and scrutiny”, admits Andy Cole, with the club’s class of 2020-21 urged to embrace that expectation and forge a “siege mentality”.
Calls for leadership at Old Trafford are growing in intensity, with the Red Devils considered to be lacking in that department of late.
The likes of Bruno Fernandes have been doing their best to drag others along with them, but collective effort is going to be required in order to hit ultimate targets.
Former frontman Cole knows what is required to deliver under the brightest of spotlights, having secured an enviable collection of trophies with United in his playing days, and he wants those in the modern era to prove that they have what it takes to follow in some illustrious footsteps.
“The club is about being under pressure and scrutiny consistently,” Cole told The Sun.
“Success breeds contempt and, when things are not going well, people want to jump on the bandwagon and talk about your lack of success.
“You have got to use that and get that siege mentality. And when you walk out there, believe in each other and say to yourselves, ‘This is what we are going to do, it is about us and what we can achieve’.
“The players have to get their heads down and become a unit.”
Cole added on the accusations of United lacking leaders and character: “In my day we were all captains in our own right and you had to lead your own ship.
“When we crossed that white line and looked at each other we knew we all wanted to win. In fact, we had some teams beat when we were in the tunnel.”
Cole concedes that adopting such a mindset is never easy, with tangible success required in order for morale to be lifted, but he believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have shown that they can compete with the very best in the business.
“Being at United at times is not easy,” added the ex-England international.
“Even if the club have not won the league for seven years, every opponent still raises their game against you.
“You have to match that. When I was at Manchester United the players understood what the club was about, that you always had to prove yourself.
“This team has to find that consistency. They go to Paris Saint-Germain and get an unbelievable result and then come back to the league and not play well.
"You are just not sure what team is going to turn up. Once they get that consistency it will breed confidence.”