Former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke has claimed that the current crop of players at Old Trafford lack resilience, and cited it as the main reason for the Red Devils' struggle since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013. In his final season, the Scot guided the club to their record 20th title and was replaced by David Moyes.
The former Everton manager failed to improve the side and was sacked just 10 months into his six-year contract at Old Trafford as they finished seventh in the 2013/14 season. Louis van Gaal then took over the club and has helped United return to the Champions League, only to be knocked out in the group stages this term.
United now are fifth in the league table with 37 points from 22 matches – two points behind fourth-placed Totttenham Hotspur. Yorke is of the view that Van Gaal and the players at Old Trafford are equally responsible for the Red Devils' slump.
"Well, it has to come from both sides. The manager and the players [are both responsible]. I feel that the players have developed a reputation over the years," Yorke told IBTimes UK in an exclusive interview.
"The players and fans were familiar with things and the level of consistency [when Ferguson was in charge]. They knew what was expected from a Manchester United player. And if he did not live up to those expectations, then the player would not be a part of the squad."
"He [Ferguson] always pushed you to the limits. He pushed you to the limit in the sense that he knows that a player is capable of producing. I think that's something that the players expect, something you would relish, look forward to, training people hard every day and that is why we were very successful. Now the team today maybe doesn't have the same resilience like we had," he added.
Yorke played under Ferguson and in his debut season at United, he went on to win the treble in the 1998/99 season. The 44-year-old claims the transition at his former club was inevitable once Ferguson left and suggested the Red Devils have failed to get the right combination since then.
"There's a lot of changes happening. Once Sir Alex Ferguson left the club, there is that transitional period. We haven't got the right combination," the ex-United striker explained.
"So that would take time because we have been so dominating in world football, especially the Premier League for such a long time. When the change is made, it is going to be taking some time, which is inevitable. But the changes will happen and we just have to be patient before we return to the top."