Liverpool legend Dietmar Hamann has labeled Manchester United an "average" side while labeling Louis van Gaal "desperate" following his defence of the team's playing style in recent weeks, which has seen the Red Devils win just one of their last eight matches.

The 20-times English champions were on top of the table in September and maintained their position in the top three of the Premier League until November but have since struggled to win matches, which has seen them slip down the table in the league and get knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages. They are currently in sixth place, nine points behind joint leaders Arsenal and Leicester City and two points behind Tottenham Hotspur, who occupy the final Champions League spot in fourth place.

Wayne Rooney has struggled with form until recently, while Anthony Martial has faded following a blistering start to his Premier League career. They have failed to score goals on a consistent basis and have dropped crucial points against relegation-threatened clubs Bournemouth and Norwich City. The former Liverpool midfielder feels this inability to win games, especially during difficult moments, is what will see United fail to finish in the top four and qualify for next season's Champions League.

The former Germany international was also not sympathetic towards Van Gaal, who has come under severe pressure for his team's loss of form and poor style of play, which has seen them draw four of their last eight games. Hamann has also accused him of being desperate in his search for excuses to defend his team despite their poor showing in recent weeks.

"Good teams, we've seen that with [Manchester] City and especially Arsenal this year, find a way to win," Hamann said, as quoted by the Sun.

"Average teams find a way not to win, and this is where United are at the moment. It doesn't matter how they play, they can't win games — or not enough games on a consistent basis — and this is why there are where they are. I don't think they will finish in the top four because I've got major, major worries," the Reds legend explained.

"The manager comes out after and says 'see, I've been right because we defended well, we need one more goal than the opposition but today we score three goals and still didn't win'.

"He is still trying to defend the way they have played in recent weeks and to me it all looks a bit desperate," he added.