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‘Pep & Klopp have to go for Man Utd to challenge’ – Ince points finger of blame at Woodward

4:37 PM IST 24/09/19
Pep Guardiola Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Jurgen Klopp
The former Red Devils midfielder has questioned a lack of leadership at Old Trafford and the impact of that on recent recruitment

It could be five years before Manchester United are Premier League title challengers, says Paul Ince, with the Red Devils needing Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp to leave posts at Manchester City and Liverpool before the door opens again.

The former Red Devils midfielder admits those at Old Trafford are a long way behind arch-rivals at present, with issues on and off the field contributing to an alarming period of regression.

Ince fears it will be a long road back for United, with the finger of blame for recent struggles being pointed in the direction of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward .

“There’s a lot of things that aren’t right at Old Trafford at the moment, and they need to be addressed. I don’t know where United are going as a club,” Ince told Paddy Power .

“From a football point of view, I expected an in and out season, I could’ve accepted that – but I would’ve anticipated the performances would be so much better.

“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows they’re not going to win the title this year, or next. It could be five years before they do.

“I believe that the only chance they have in the near future is if Klopp and Pep leave Liverpool and City. Whether Ole will still be in charge by then, who knows.”

Ince added: “This season, again, will be a transitional year. I’m not disappointed or angry about that, it’s just where they are as a team at the moment.

“The results are going to be up and down and I’m prepared to accept that, as long as they challenge for the top four.

“I’m more concerned about the director of football situation and the way Ed Woodward is building the club.

“He is rightly getting a lot of stick – people who appoint managers should be made accountable. For the results, for the structure of the club, for the recruitment, and so on.

“They knew they were going to lose Lukaku, and it was obvious Sanchez had to move on, so why the hell have they not got a striker or two in?

“Ed Woodward isn’t a football man, he’s a money man. From that perspective, I’m sure he’s doing a great job – but the fans don’t give a toss about the money if it isn’t being invested back into the team.

“They want Manchester United quality players on the pitch, to be entertained, to be winning things, and they’re not getting that. It doesn’t look like a Man Utd team anymore.

“What United need is someone who knows where to find Manchester United players, where the hidden gems are, and how to get them.

“Currently, United are being held to ransom. Harry Maguire is a terrific player, but £80 million? They’re being forced to pay over the odds to get top players.

“What they should be doing is identifying these talents earlier, doing proper research, and getting them for a lot cheaper.

“That’s not down to one person to do, it’s about the director of football and their team – United probably need to hire four or five people who can go out and start building blocks.

“It might take a year or two, but at least they’d be moving forwards.”

Across six Premier League outings in 2019-20, United have taken just eight points.

Their cause has been done few favours by injury issues, but questions are already being asked of Solskjaer and his ability to steer the club in the right direction .