Manchester United’s squad is riddled with insecurity as many players feel they’re not up to the standards needed to return the club to the summit of English football.
United kicked off the Erik ten Hag era with a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Brighton at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Despite a good pre-season, United failed to show the type of form that has rejuvenated excitement among fans since the end of the last season.
The Red devils’ collapse against the Seagulls points to a bigger problem though, in that the players seem to crumble under the pressure of playing for the club on the biggest stage.
And the Athletic claim that the squad is gripped with a sense of insecurity, with many players feeling they’re not good enough to take the club back to where they want to be.
Unnamed former coaches, who have overseen two regimes in the last months, feel that the players are unable to perform at their best level because they have been scarred by their failures in recent years.
Ten Hag has attempted to resolve this by implementing a strict style of play and there were positive signs in pre-season that they were adhering to his ways.
But the scars of recent years are there for all to see in a team that haven’t won any trophy since 2017.
Ten Hag has signed new blood in the form of Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez, while discarding eight players.
But, the Dutchman had hoped for far more arrivals and the club have spent all summer negotiating a deal for Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong.
But with the Netherlands midfielder unconvinced over a move to Old Trafford, United have opened talks with Juventus over a deal for Adrien Rabiot.
United have also had a bid turned down by Bologna for Marko Arnautovic, though the Austrian has handed in a transfer request in order to force through a move.