Manchester United legends Roy Keane and Paul Scholes agree over a Red Devils duo that are “not up to it” as new signing Christian Eriksen’s ability was also questioned.
Ten Hag endured a tough first outing in the Premier League on Sunday, losing 2-1 to Brighton at Old Trafford having been completely outplayed in the first half.
It was a familiar story for United as the Seagulls cut them open with ease on the opening day to highlight the problems facing Ten Hag.
One of the key issues he faces is in midfield, with Fred and Scott McTominay frequently criticised last season.
United have been desperately trying to fix the problem in the transfer market through the signing of Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, and both Keane and Scholes believe a change in that area is required sooner rather than later.
Speaking about the double pivot, Keane told Sky Sports: “The decision making and the football intelligence, in particular from Fred – and I’ve said this for a long time – Fred and McTominay are not good enough. They won’t get Manchester United back competing at the top.
“We see it week in, week out. [They are] not up to it.”
Scholes described the first half showing against Brighton as “shambolic” before agreeing with his former teammate.
He told Premier League Productions: “The quality in the middle of the pitch was really poor.
“I was happy he [McTominay] didn’t get sent-off [for a late challenge], but I think he was slightly lucky. Again, he’s running with the ball, absolutely ridiculous. The quality in the middle of the pitch was nowhere near good enough, but we have seen that for the last few years with these two players.
“With Fred and McTominay, he [Ten Hag] is going to have to play just one of them [moving forward] but even one of them is probably too many. Fred gives the ball away all the time and McTominay tries run with it constantly and then gives it away. Pass it to your best players…
“It’s not that difficult. It’s criminal on a day like today [Sunday afternoon].”
With Fred and McTominay in the engine room, new signing Eriksen played as false nine, dropping team on occasion to create for Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho who ran beyond him.
The performance of the Denmark international was one of the positives to come out of the game, but Keane doesn’t believe he will be the man to take them back to the top, as he questioned his ability to win the ball back.
“I think he’s a really good player,” Keane added. “Will he get Man United back competing for league titles? The answer is no. My biggest worry for players like Christian and the big problem for Man United in the last year or two is out of possession against better teams so that’s not one of his strengths. A talented player but I’m not convinced.”
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