Van der Sar blames Man Utd slump on ‘strong characters’ disappearing from dressing room

EDWIN VAN DER SAR has claimed Manchester United lack "strong characters" in the dressing room – and believes this is at the heart of their slump.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are now just two points from the drop zone in a frightening run which has left the Norwegian in fear of the sack.

Van der Sar blames Man Utd slump on ‘strong characters’ disappearing from dressing room1 Former star Edwin Van Der Sar has blamed Manchester United's slump on a lack of characters in the dressing room

It is a far cry from Van Der Sar's time at Old Trafford when characters like Roy Keane, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand would not stand for any nonsense – and ensure all team-mates delivered in every match.

Solskjaer's United, who crashed 1-0 at struggling Newcastle on Sunday, have failed to win a single away match since March – typifying the lack of character which is conspicuous by its absence in the dressing room.

Holland's legendary keeper Van Der Sar, who played for United for six years from 2005, told ESPN: "I think for ourselves, when I came in the dressing room we had Ryan Giggs, you had [Paul] Scholes, you had [Rio] Ferdinand, [Gary] Neville and even Roy Keane at that time.

"I think there’s always been strong characters. And I think for the last couple of years the strong characters have disappeared and not making a difference anymore.

"Of course, the name is there. And of course the following they have all over the world.

"But for a player…you want to play at a certain level, you also want to have an idea that you can win trophies and they must take that opportunity also to improve the squad and make the world-class players they have, or the players that they’re going to sign, that they feel welcome and that there’s a good path to where they’re going to go to."

Van Der Sar won four Premier League titles at United after Sir Alex Ferguson signed him from Fulham.

But since the Scot retired in 2013, United have sacked three managers.

Solskjaer has failed to inject any character into the squad and the team's results have been dire since he got the job permanently six months ago.

He was handed £150million in the summer to bring in defenders Harry Maguire (£85m) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£50m), plus winger Dan James (£18m).

But with one Prem win in their last seven, fans and pundits are calling on Solskjaer to go.

Former players Gary Neville and Keane have led the chorus of ex-stars wanting some sort of change.
Van der Sar blames Man Utd slump on ‘strong characters’ disappearing from dressing room
Neville believes Ed Woodward should be removed from his role overseeing the football side of things at United, after a string of bad signings in the last five years.

While Keane says there are "no leaders" at Old Trafford and said it was "scary" how far United have fallen in two years.

He said: "You can lose a game of football but everything about the game, about United – lacklustre, no quality, a lack of desire, leaders, character. And it’s a long way back for them.

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"It’s scary how far they have fallen."

The pathetic performance at St James' and in the Europa League against AZ Alkmaar and Astana angered many fans.

The lack of goals this season has been a huge issue.

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While the form of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard has been a massive problem.

Romelu Lukaku felt Solskjaer could not motivate him, which could be the root of United's problems.

But then again, if your being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a week and you are playing for one of the biggest football clubs in the world, should that not be motivation enough?

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