Former striker Michael Owen has slammed Manchester United for considering a top four finish as a sign of success, and blames the side’s attacking forces for performing below par throughout this season.
The Red Devils spent £150 million to bring in reinforcements in the form of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao amongst others in the summer last year. But despite the massive expenditure, new manager Louis van Gaal, who was brought in to help the club recover from last season’s disastrous seventh place finish under David Moyes, failed to turn the team into title contenders.
The Old Trafford outfit are currently fourth in the Premier League table, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea, and seven points adrift of second placed Manchester City.
The club have not lost a single game since their defeat against Manuel Pellegrini’s side earlier in November last year, but their only real hope of winning any trophy is in the FA Cup.
And Owen insists that a spot in the Champions League is the least you expect from a club like United, and feels that even a third place finish should be considered a failure.
“People keep saying they are going to get a top four finish and that was the aim,” the former English international said on BT Sport’s Football Tonight Show via the Mirror.
“But that (a top four finish) is the absolute bare minimum.
“After spending £150m and having the players they have and the stadium – they should be first, second or third. Third should be a bad season”, the 35-year-old continued.
“How are they accepting that they are not challenging for the title having spent that money on those caliber of players? It’s not a good season.”
Owen also felt that the players upfront have failed to deliver up to their potential, especially Robin van Persie, who is nowhere close to the player he once was, and Juan Mata.
“I don’t think any of the strikers are performing,” he said.
“Robin van Persie has gone quiet, he’s scored the odd goal, but he’s not the player he was over the past few years.
“I don’t necessarily blame the strikers as Manchester United aren’t creating loads and loads of chances.
“They are not functioning as a team and if you don’t function as a team, and your strikers and midfielders aren’t working hard then you’ll concede goals – it’s not just about the defence”, the Liverpool legend added.
“The likes of Mata and Van Persie need to start doing more.”