Manchester United midfielders Fred and Scott McTominay are “not good enough” and are the reason for the club’s struggles under Ralf Rangnick, claims Liverpool legend Steve Nicol.
Fred and McTominay have been regular starters under Rangnick since his appointment as interim boss. However, United have struggled to hit the ground running under the German.
The Red Devils are unbeaten in Rangnick’s four matches in charge.
But they have been unable to score more than one goal in each of the matches against Crystal Palace, Young Boys, Norwich and Newcastle.
The 1-1 draw at Newcastle on Monday saw the likes of Gary Neville tear into his former side’s performance.
United struggled to make many clear-cut chances and were arguably lucky to pick up a point at St James’ Park.
And Nicol believes he knows the reason behind Rangnick’s initial struggles in the Premier League.
The former Scotland international says countryman McTominay and Brazil star Fred are not doing their job either defensively or offensively.
Nicol told ESPN FC: “Look at the middle of the park, who’s going to have Fred and McTominay in their team? Of the good sides, none of them.
“So, you look at the front four and you think ‘why are these guys not producing?’.
“Well, are they getting enough of the ball? Well, if you can’t get enough of the ball against Newcastle, who quite frankly look as though they’re going to go down in my opinion, then what chance have you got?
“So you could have anybody you want up front that you could pick, if you can’t get them the ball you’re not going to score goals.
“And if the two in the middle can’t get the front four the ball, and they’re not stopping anybody get through to the backline…
“So as much as it’s Rangnick’s fault, a lot of it is the players are just not good enough.”
United captain Harry Maguire was disappointed with his side’s performance at Newcastle and says they must improve as they push for a top-four spot.
Maguire told MUTV: “You can’t make excuses for sloppy passes and the opportunities that we had, especially in the first half.
“We’ve got to stay on the ball, we’ve got to stay active and we’ve got to play the ball in their half and we didn’t manage to do that.
“You can look at that and ask whether the last 16 days had a big impact on that because it looked like we ran out of steam out there.
“A point in the end is a fair result, but it’s a result that we’re disappointed with.”