Manchester United cannot be considered realistic contenders to win the Premier League this season, according to The Sun’s Martin Lipton.
Just days after being knocked out of the Champions League, United’s Premier League ambitions also suffered a blow on Saturday when they were beaten 2-1 at Bournemouth.
They are not the only side near the top of the table to have looked unconvincing at times this season, but Lipton does not believe United are on the same level as Manchester City or Arsenal.
He told the Sunday Supplement on Sky Sports: “The players are not good enough. If you look at that squad now, you cannot honestly say you see that Manchester United side finishing top of the league this year.
“You look at City and Arsenal, both of those you can see them winning the league with the sort of set up they have got. With each passing week, United look further and further away from being a title-winning side.
“Of course this could all change. They can find their form, De Gea won’t let in goals like that very often, they get their centre-halves back, Rooney comes back and finds his form, Depay starts looking like a £20m player, and it all looks very different.
“But at this juncture, they are no closer to winning the title than they were in the Moyes season. They may be slightly closer in terms of points but they’re not a realistic contender.”
The London Evening Standard’s Patrick Barclay, meanwhile, believes Van Gaal is a ‘lame duck’ at Old Trafford.
He said: “We talk about top four clubs now as if they’re in crisis, and it’s all caused by the fact Pep Guardiola may be available at the end of the season.
“When he was at Barca you thought maybe he was riding the horse. But when he goes and takes Barcelona and recreates it in Munich, you think: ‘This is almost a guarantee!’
“Obviously, Manchester United is still a hell of a job. And it does appear that Van Gaal is a lame duck now. I really do [think it has gone that for]. I can’t see how it’s going to get better now.
“Now that the atmosphere around the place is so bad, I can’t see it getting better. The mood takes over.”