Manchester United players need to “stop listening to their manager”, says Martin Keown, with Jose Mourinho transformed from the ‘Special One’ into the ‘Lonely One’.
The Portuguese has endured a testing time at Old Trafford this season, with reports of internal rifts played out against a backdrop of regular rounds of criticism from former stars.
Mourinho continues to come out fighting, maintaining that he is enjoying management “more than ever”, but his position is being called into question on a regular basis.
Former Arsenal star Keown, who enjoyed some memorable tussles with United in his playing days, believes change is needed in Manchester, with it up to an out-of-sorts squad to take the lead.
"They are there for the taking - these United players almost need to stop listening to their manager now.
"If this is how they're being told to play, the players are on their own - I don't know the identity of this United team."
Things are not about to get any easier for Mourinho and his United side either as they are due at Anfield on Sunday to take on unbeaten Liverpool.
That contest will provide another stern examination of a leaky backline, with a man famed so defensive strength seeing his powers desert him.
Keown believes those struggles are indicative of the Red Devils as a whole, with there an alarming lack of belief within a once all-conquering club.
"They're almost dreading games," he added.
"Whether they change the manager is another thing but every game feels like a crisis now.
"Mourinho has an incredible job there but the 'special one' has become the 'lonely one'.
"He's almost enjoying the process of it coming to an end."
United will make the short trip to Merseyside sat sixth in the Premier League table, eight points adrift of the top four and scratching around to try and force themselves back into contention for a Champions League berth.