Ander Herrera has risked upsetting Louis van Gaal with comments made after Manchester United's 1-0 victory over Newcastle United that completely contradict the manager's summation of the St James' Park encounter.
The Red Devils midfielder was brutally honest in his assessment of the level of performance delivered by the players on Tyneside on Wednesday evening, which resulted in three points thanks to a late strike by Ashley Young.
Herrera suggested that the first-team squad still needs to raise their game as a collective unit, though, despite the fact Van Gaal was adamant that against the Magpies his side produced one of their best displays of the season.
The £29 million signing from Athletic Bilbao last summer was clearly in disagreement with the Dutch coach, claiming that the Manchester United supporters are suffering too much due to the disappointing performances, even though they've only lost two of their last 21 games in all competitions.
"I think we deserved to win," reflected the Spaniard in an interview with MUTV, as quoted by The Independent. "We deserved to score before and we were a little bit disappointed at half-time because we should have been winning.
"We created chances, we kept the ball and we didn't give a lot of chances away - I think only one in the first half, in the last minute. But now we are very happy.
"When you win in the last minute, you are very happy. But I think we have to improve, we have to score earlier because our fans are suffering too much."
Herrera's evaluation falls much more in line with the general ill-feeling of the Old Trafford faithful, who have grown increasingly annoyed about the way Van Gaal's team is forced to grind out results, seemingly sacrificing style for substance in the form of Premier League points.
"We have to score earlier because our fans are suffering too much," - Ander Herrera
The Red Devils certainly appear on course to finish in the top four, and with it qualify for next season's Champions League which, in fairness to The Iron Tulip was the main remit for his debut campaign at the Theatre of Dreams.
However, the 63-year-old is deluded if he thinks the Newcastle display is anywhere close to being acceptable for a club of Manchester United's prestige and stature, and his latest comments will probably wind up the already frustrated fans even further.
"I think we have dominated for 90 minutes, maybe our best match of the season, especially in an away match we deserved the victory," he told BT Sport after the game. "We didn't reward ourselves in the first half.
"It was a narrow escape because our rivals have won also so it's a rat race. We have created a lot of chances and could have scored much earlier. They also made two big chances and I think David de Gea rescued us at that time."
Manchester United fans are much more likely to side with Herrera, who has already established a cult following from the terraces in his short time with the club. Earlier in the season when he was continually overlooked by Van Gaal, supporters questioned the reason for his omission, having impressed whenever selected in the starting XI.
Because of that, his view seems to carry a certain amount of weight with Red Devils followers, and his latest rallying call to his team-mates will undoubtedly enhance his reputation even further.
Manchester United fans: Is Ander Herrera right to say the supporters are suffering as a result of under-par performances, even though Louis van Gaal is still winning games? Share your thoughts below...
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