Phil Bardsley in action against United
Phil Bardsley in action against UnitedGetty Images

Phil Bardsley thinks his former club Manchester United have resembled a pub side at times this season. The 30-year-old defender, who currently plays for Stoke City, has revealed his frustrations at watching the Red Devils, accusing Louis van Gaal's men of being too cautious in their approach.

Bardsley thinks United have moved away from their attacking traditions and says they would be better served trying to pass the ball at pace, rather than attaching so much importance to possession.

"The way Manchester United have always played is attacking football," Bardsley told BBC Radio 5 Live. "They've always played with a presence, they controlled games, dictated games. They would slow it down and sped it up. They've always had natural width."

Bardsley said one of United's most impressive performances of this season came against his Stoke City side when Van Gaal's men looked to move the ball forward with speed. "Stoke played against United in early February, we lost 3-0 and that was probably one of United's best performances of the season," recalled Bardsley, who left United in 2008.

"Unfortunately it was against us. But they had Michael Carrick in there passing the ball forward, they had Depay, Lingard, Martial… all young, fresh, quick kids. They passed the ball forward [that night] and as soon as they pass the ball forward with a bit of pace and power, they create chances. I just think they're far too defensive."

Bardsley also observed that United have struggled for any consistency under Van Gaal, likening some of their performances to that of a pub team. "It is so frustrating to watch as a Manchester United fan," he admitted. "At times they look like they are back to their best, and then next week they look like the Dog and Duck."