By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Jamie Redknapp has slammed the Manchester United team that lost to Bournemouth on Saturday as the worse he has ever seen.
The former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder was hugely unimpressed by Louis van Gaal’s side, which lost 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium as Bournemouth claimed their second big scalp in consecutive weeks following their victory at Chelsea seven days earlier.
United had nine players unavailable to start the clash and, despite the late return of Phil Jones as a substitute, lost two more players to injury during the game as the team’s casualty list grew even further.
“That had to be the worst Manchester United team I’ve seen in all my years watching football,” wrote Redknapp in his Mail Online column on Monday. “If that team played week in, week out they’d be in relegation trouble.
“There’s no joy in their football. Nobody is playing with a smile. As a player I was desperate to wipe the smirk off United faces because they knew just how much quality they had. Now they look afraid to express themselves or make a mistake. If you play with fear, you’ve got no chance.”
The average age of the United starting XI against Bournemouth was 24 years and 131 days, their sixth-youngest in Premier League history.
Marouanne Fellaini equalised after Junior Stanislas had put the home team ahead direct from a second-minute corner but United reject Josh King scored the winner in the second half as Bournemouth dominated the play.
Redknapp believes the absence of the likes of Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling was key.
“Yes, it was an inexperienced line-up and they could end up becoming good young players,” he added. “But it showed how important it is for United that they get back their big-name players as quickly as possible.
“On Soccer Saturday on Sky, John Terry talked to us about the difficulty of playing after a midweek game and the problems of not knowing your line-up if you’re waiting on injury news.
“You have to wonder if all those injuries are a result of Louis van Gaal working his players too hard. But injuries are no excuse, especially after spending £250million.
“Now United must do something special. Van Gaal needs a trophy to prove it has not just been two wasted years.”