Manchester United lack quality to win Premier League, says Graeme Souness
By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 14/12/15 10:02am
Graeme Souness says he can't see Manchester United winning the Premier League this season.
Louis van Gaal's side missed the chance to go level on points with league leaders Manchester City and Leicester City on Saturday when they suffered a shock loss to Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
The defeat followed United's midweek reverse at Wolfsburg, which saw them crash out of the Champions League.
Despite sitting fourth in the Premier League table, within striking distance of the summit ahead of Sunday's top-flight fixtures, United do not have the quality to win the title, says Sky Sports pundit Souness.
"I think the title is beyond them," he said. "They could finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League again.
"It's as much the football that they're playing - or not playing - that the criticism is there.
There are too many question marks hanging over too many people who are just maybe not good enough to play at a club like Manchester United in the big games.
"When you go into the really big games you look at your team and think 'where are we weak, where are we vulnerable'. There are too many question marks hanging over too many people who are just maybe not good enough to play at a club like Manchester United in the big games.
"I don't see them winning the league. I think the best they can hope for this year is Champions League [qualification].
"They'll point to only being three points adrift, but they're only three points adrift because the teams you really fancy to be consistent haven't been consistent so far. I'd expect getting into the second half of the season, the likes of Manchester City will show a bit of consistency. Arsenal, if they go on a run, could open up a gap."
As well as frustrating results in the Premier League and Europe, Van Gaal has also received criticism for the style his team have played this season - United have scored fewer goals than any other team in the top five and had six 0-0 draws in all competitions.
Meanwhile, Souness' fellow Sky Sports pundit Thierry Henry says the Dutch boss is not giving United's attacking players the freedom in the opposition's half to create opportunities and score goals.
"It seems those guys are not enjoying it. The fun is not there," said Henry.
In the last third you have to let the guy that can make the difference express himself. It seems like at times, they cannot do that.
"It's well structured at times but almost too much, too rigid, very predictable. In the last third of the park you have to let those guys express themselves. It seems like they are not allowed to fly at times.
"We've seen it with Angel di Maria. He was great when he arrived last year then suddenly it seems like he had to do some stuff that he isn't used to do.
"I understand the Dutch way of playing the game is you have to be in certain positions at certain times but in the last third you have to let the genius and the guy that can make the difference express himself. It seems like at times, they cannot do that."