Paul Merson: Two players are to blame for Man Utd's poor form

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When Manchester United fired four past Leicester City during last month's romp at Old Trafford, it really seemed like they'd turned a corner under Jose Mourinho.

However, a narrow 1-0 win over Zorya in the Europa League and last weekend's drab draw with Stoke City suggests the Red Devils are far from out of the woods.

A combination of poor finishing and lapses in concentration meant United surrendered all three points against the Potters, with Joe Allen pouncing on David de Gea's error to cancel out Anthony Martial's earlier strike.


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Inconsistency is proving a big issue for United and it's something that Mourinho will be looking to rectify when the Premier League resumes after the international break.

But for Arsenal legend Paul Merson, there are two players to blame for United's recent demise - and neither is Wayne Rooney.

In the player-turned-pundit's opinion, it's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba's behaviour that's having a negative impact at the Theatre of Dreams.

Writing for the Daily Star, he said: "Manchester United are going to struggle to finish in the top four at the rate they're going.

"I'm not sure they are Champions League material.

"They should have blown Stoke away in the first 20 minutes last Sunday. But after that I'm not sure they looked like scoring.

"United have problems. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba just seem to look for each other all the time and ignore everyone else."

While it comes as no real surprise that Merson blames Pogba, it's interesting how he also criticises Ibrahimovic, who has scored four Premier League goals for United so far this season and largely impressed since joining on a Bosman transfer.

But perhaps he's on to something. The United duo are both world-class players and it would make sense if they're constantly on the lookout for each other.

It's Pogba's poor form that will concern Mourinho most, given the Frenchman has scored just once and made zero assists in six league appearances.

His rut has carried over into the international break, too, with France manager Didier Deschamps slamming Pogba for his performance during Friday night's 4-1 win over Bulgaria.

"I don't like evaluating one player individually," he said. "[Pogba] alternated between good things and less good things.

"Paul can and must do better. He knows that.

"But he did not play in a position that highlights him. In this position, his role is more about the construction of the game. He has everything to do it.

"He did good things tonight. And some others that were less good."

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Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain
Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League

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