Charlie Nicholas says Manchester United are in a worse place now under Louis van Gaal than they were under David Moyes.
United hit the bar and post but failed to find the net in the goalless draw against Chelsea earlier in the week in what was regarded as a much-improved performance by Van Gaal's side, who have gone eight matches without a win.
Moyes endured a torrid first season at United in 2013/14 having taken over from Sir Alex Ferguson, and was sacked in April as United eventually finished seventh having won the title in 2012/13.
But Nicholas disagrees that Van Gaal has United in a better position now than two years ago, and wants the Dutchman to loosen his side up in the final third.
Nicholas told Sky Sports: "When I hear people like Phil Jones say it's much better than it was under David Moyes I disagree, I'd say it's much worse now and the reason for that is because United are on a massive slide.
"It's the first time I can remember a Manchester United team not threatening to score. I know they hit the bar and the post against Chelsea but they just don't do it often enough for me.
"Van Gaal deserves a lot of the criticism that has come his way because they have been bland and boring.
"It was up to him to give the players a little more freedom in the final third of the pitch and if that didn't work change things, but he's stayed rigid to his system. I thought against Chelsea it was a bit looser and the players maybe took some of the initiative themselves.
"Nobody can point the finger at the players and say the players aren't playing for the manager, they genuinely are but in terms of their performance they are just caught in this rut that they've not really experienced before."
United host Swansea on Saturday looking for a much-needed win, and Nicholas predicts it will come at Old Trafford.
And the Soccer Saturday pundit feels assistant manager Ryan Giggs took out his frustrations on Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata after the defeat by Stoke on Boxing Day, sparking a much-needed reaction from the United strikers.
NIcholas said: "Giggs stormed off after the Stoke defeat with a furious look on his face and I think he could have played a part in the improved display against Chelsea.
"I think he's gone to the attack-minded players and said: 'Come on, it's time you guys started delivering. The defence has been doing okay but we need you to start performing - Rooney, Martial and Mata we need more from you', and that may be marked the improvement on Monday.
"I'm hoping Ryan is getting them angry and maybe that's just what they need."