A former player and manager of the Red Devils’ Europa League last-32 opponents says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side do not strike fear into rivals
Andreas Pereira would “have to fight to be in the starting line-up of Club Brugge”, says the Belgian club’s former manager Henk Houwaart, with Manchester United considered to be a long way short of their Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs heyday.
The Red Devils have suffered a humbling fall from grace since the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson headed into retirement back in 2013.
Rebuilding at Old Trafford has proved difficult, with David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all failing to bring the glory days back.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the man currently charged with that task, but the Norwegian has also faced questions regarding his suitability to such a demanding role.
Mismanagement of the past is considered to have done his cause few favours, with questionable recruitment allowing collective standards to dip at Old Trafford.
Houwaart believes that point is highlighted by United’s squad of 2019-20, with the likes of Pereira seeing regular game time despite being well short of the standard set by illustrious figures that went before him.
The ex-Brugge player and coach told HLN ahead of a meeting between his former club and the Red Devils in the last-32 of the Europa League: “It is just a pity that this is not the Manchester United of yesteryear, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Giggs.
“Like Pereira, that boy would have to fight to be in the starting line-up of Club Brugge.”
Pereira started and took in 71 minutes of action as United played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their continental clash with Brugge.
An away goal puts Solskjaer’s side in pole position to reach the last 16, with Houwaart disappointed that Philippe Clement’s team did not have more of a go on home soil against a Red Devils outfit that was there for the taking.
The Dutchman added: “I think it is such a shame that Club did not start with its strongest team at home, because then they would have won 2-0 or 3-0, but now it will be difficult, which does not mean that Club should no longer believe in it.
“Clement: go with your strongest and most experienced team.”