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'Man Utd are a shadow of what they once were' - Crouch says 'feel-good factor' is gone for Solskjaer

03:17 EAT 27/04/2019
Marcus Rashford Manchester United 2018-19
The Burnley striker has expressed his surprise at Red Devils fall from grace and questioned the timing of Sosjkaer's appointment

Former England international Peter Crouch has lamented the ‘mismatch’ of the Manchester derby and asked ‘how it had come to this’ for Manchester United.

In Wednesday’s derby Manchester City beat United 2-0 and moved 25 points clear of their local rivals in the process.

The result was part of a rotten run of form that has seen United lose seven of nine in all competitions.

Crouch wondered how the situation at United had got so bad, and questioned the timing of appointing Ole Gunnar Solksjaer as full time manager.

“[The game on Wednesday] was a mismatch. City are so far clear you wondered how it had come to this,” Crouch wrote in The Daily Mail.

“United are a shadow of what they once were. It is open season on them following seven defeats in nine games. I have watched events at Old Trafford this season with an increasing sense of frustration and disbelief; the performance against City was a tipping point.

“I questioned why there was a rush to appoint Solskjaer on a permanent deal. I didn’t say he shouldn’t be manager, he had absolutely earned the opportunity, but there was no pressure on United to do it.

“Since his position was formalised on March 28 they have only beaten Watford and West Ham and the feel-good factor is gone.”

Despite speculating as to whether Solskjaer’s appointment was ill-judged, Crouch laid the blame squarely at the door of the United players.

“The situation doesn’t reflect well on the players. I have played in enough dressing rooms to know when things turn sour.

“It’s a privilege to play for a club of United’s size and it should mean something in every appearance. You don’t get to pick and choose the games you perform in.

“Getting to that level is the pinnacle but I wonder whether some United players truly appreciate that.

“Why did Romelu Lukaku talk this week about wanting to play in Italy? Why is Paul Pogba not silencing rumours linking him with Real Madrid? Things like that wouldn’t have been able to happen before, so why are they now?”

“I don’t want to be seen as jumping on the bandwagon but they have serious issues to address. When they play Liverpool or City, I want to see United going toe to toe. I don’t want them to become just another team.”