Robin van Persie thinks Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is lacking the fear factor necessary to get the best out of his Manchester United team.
United were well beaten by Arsenal on New Year’s Day, arguably flattered by the 2-0 scoreline as the Mikel Arteta era roared into life at the Emirates Stadium.
Van Persie, who fired United to the Premier League title under Sir Alex Ferguson, doesn’t appear to be convinced Solskjaer can command his troops as effectively as his old mentor.
“You need a bit of fear for your coach,” he said on BT Sport.
“Yes, firstly, the game plan, but you need a bit of fear for your coach.
“If you have that, then you know that if you don’t make those runs, if you don’t play those balls, you will get punished. You won’t play the next game."
When asked if this was missing under Solskjaer, he replied: “Probably. By the looks of it, I think so, yeah.”
Van Persie’s former team-mate, Rio Ferdinand, doesn’t believe there is any lack of desire or determination in the Old Trafford dressing room.
However, he wasn’t at all convinced by United’s attacking play – and thinks, however young the players at his disposal, Solskjaer has to find a greater consistency in performances.
“When I watched Man Utd play here last season in an FA Cup game, they had structure and I was thinking, ‘Woah, this is Man Utd’,” he said.
“I didn’t see those patterns [of play] or the idea that they’ve been told to do this, this is the pattern of play that happens.
“Today it looked very much like, ‘Get the ball to Martial and see what he can do’. That’s what it seemed like.
“I know a lot of the boys in that changing room, I’ve seen a lot of them grow up.
“They’re kids who want to do well, they’re desperate to play, they’re desperate to be the best in their position, they’re desperate to do great in a Man Utd shirt.
“But it’s just not happening at the moment and that has got to be sorted out and the consistency is the biggest problem at the moment.
“I think he’s used 10 players under 22 this season. That’s a lot of young players.
“But they need consistency, they have got to find it somehow and that is the job of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.”