Manchester United are “too nice” and need to “be b*stards” in order to get their hands on major silverware, says Dimitar Berbatov, with semi-final heartache becoming all too familiar at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side put themselves in contention for three trophies last season, only to come unstuck in the last four on each occasion.
History is repeating itself in 2020-21, with the Red Devils suffering a derby defeat to arch-rivals Manchester City when a final appearance in the Carabao Cup was within touching distance.
Solskjaer has denied that there is a psychological issue in his squad that is preventing them from getting over the line, with the Norwegian adamant that positive progress continues to be made.
Berbatov is not convinced, with a man who won two Premier League titles and the League Cup during his time at United looking for the Red Devils to add more “smart and cunning” to their game.
He told Betfair of efforts to bring a four-year barren run to a close: “It's now four semi-finals in a row that United have failed to win and this is a bad habit that they need to break. Four times in a row is too many to be just a coincidence.
“Sometimes the pressure and the high expectations can get to players when they need to take that step to reach a final. United need to evaluate what is going on in these important matches and try to correct it. Winning a trophy is a big step in the right direction and unfortunately they have missed out on another.
“Sometimes when you have these derbies in important matches, it's not about momentum or form, it's about how much you want it, how smart and cunning the players are, if necessary use some dirty tricks, do whatever it takes to win.
“Sometimes you need to be like this and, like Jose Mourinho said: ‘You need to be b*stards to win trophies’. I don't see enough of that from United in these important matches.
“Roy Keane spoke about how shocked he was too see players hugging each other after the last Manchester derby. I agree with him. What the f*ck, this is a derby go out there and win.
“They're missing someone who is dirty in the team, someone who can show the aggression that would give them an edge. United are too nice at times.”
The Red Devils are set to open another trophy quest on Saturday when they face Watford in the third round of the FA Cup, while Solskjaer’s side have also forced their way into the Premier League title picture and dropped into the last 32 of the Europa League.