Manchester United's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League suffered a blow after they were knocked out of the Europa League by arch rivals Liverpool on Thursday (17 March). Their only chance of playing in Europe's biggest cup competition is by finishing in the top four of the Premier League, a prospect that is looking unlikely at the moment. They are in the sixth place in the league and are four points behind Sunday's (20 March) opponents Manchester City, who are in fourth.
Red Devils legend Paul Scholes, who has been heavily critical of his former club and manager Louis van Gaal throughout the season, has again berated them for allowing a number of key players to leave the club in the last two seasons. The 20-time English champions have struggled to score goals on a consistent basis this campaign and the former midfielder believes that holding on to strikers like Danny Welbeck would have helped the club.
Apart from Welbeck, who joined Arsenal in 2014, United also allowed Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez to leave the club during the 2015 summer transfer window, a decision which has cost them as various stages during the season. Scholes, who is disappointed with the departures of the latter two, was more incensed with the manager's decision to axe the Manchester-born striker, who came through the club's academy to break into the first-team before being allowed to leave for a direct rival.
"He [Welbeck] would walk into this team, without a shadow of a doubt and he's just been allowed to go. Every time I watch United I keep thinking of the players that have been allowed to leave the club," Scholes said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"You're scratching your head. I think Welbeck is the biggest example of that, he should have never, ever been allowed to leave this club. He's a big example of what Manchester United are, he was here from nine years of age and came right through to the first team. He's quick, he's strong, can score a goal, can make a goal, can play left wing, can play right wing."
"Whether that's come from the manager or beyond I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it probably did come from the manager. It should never ever have been allowed to happen," the United legend added.