Manchester United have come under attack from a most unlikely source after Peter Odemwingie claimed they “are not the club they were”.
Stoke forward Odemwingie, who saw a deadline-day move to Marseille collapse, believes there is not as much quality in the United squad as they used to have and thinks they are in a rebuilding phase.
Louis van Gaal’s men sit in fifth spot in the Premier League table, but their performances have been sterile this season, leaving the club’s hopes of Champions League qualification uncertain.
The last trophy the Old Trafford club won came in August 2013 – David Moyes’ outfit beating Wigan to the Community Shield – and Odemwingie says that opposition clubs no longer fear playing them.
“They are not the club they were – they don’t have the names and the quality they used to have,” the 34-year-old told the Daily Mail. “They themselves look more shy than usual, they don’t take as much risk as we know them to do, so people take advantage of that and go for it when they play against them now.
“It’s a turning point for a big club like that. They have all the resources, they just need to do the right recruitment probably and go through this difficult stage and get back to the heights they are used to.
“There was a lot more quality there, they had real leaders on the team. Now they’ve lost that. Many teams go through that.
“When you lose a generation of players it’s hard to then get a new set that will produce the same way. I think the process they are going through is rebuilding.
“You still give them the respect, they are still good players, but not in the times when they had the likes of Rio [Ferdinand], Roy Keane, [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [David] Beckham and great finishers like [Ruud] van Nistelrooy, so it’s a bit of a different time for them now.”