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Paul Ince highlights Manchester United's biggest problem – and explains why he'd rather watch Chelsea

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince has criticised Ed Woodward after Manchester United’s 2-0 loss to West Ham.

United (opens in new tab)’s defeat at the London Stadium on Sunday means they have won only two of their first six Premier League games this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are already 10 points adrift of Liverpool (opens in new tab) in top spot, and the manager has come in for criticism after their latest loss.

However, Ince believes more questions should be asked of Woodward, who has so far failed to oversee a successful transition to a new era following Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

“What United need is someone who knows where to find Manchester United players, where the hidden gems are, and knows how to get them,” Ince, who won two Premier League titles during a six-year spell at Old Trafford, told Paddy Power (opens in new tab).

“Because, currently, United are being held to ransom. Harry Maguire is a terrific player, but £80m? They’re being forced to pay over the odds to get top players. 

“United probably need to hire four or five people who can go out and start building blocks. It might take a year or two, but at least they’d be moving forwards.

“They also need to look at Ed Woodward, what his position is, and what he’s doing to get the club going in the right direction.

Solskjaer is not the only club legend with limited managerial experience in charge of a top-six side this season.

Frank Lampard was chosen as Maurizio Sarri’s successor at Chelsea (opens in new tab) this summer, and Ince says he would rather watch the Blues in action than his former club.

“I think of Ole in the same way as I do Frank Lampard,” Ince added. “Two young managers, lacking experience, thrown into two massive clubs.

“But if you gave me the choice of who I’d rather be watching this season, it’d be Chelsea all day long – and that hurts me as a former United captain.

“At least when I look at Chelsea, I see what they’re trying to do, the way they play, their identity – they’re pressing high, getting tight and creating chances. They can only get better.

“Can anybody tell me what United are trying to do? Because I have no idea. They’re so reliant on the young lad Daniel James – who is brilliant, but was in the Championship with Swansea last season – it’s crazy.”

United seek a return to winning ways when they welcome Rochdale to Old Trafford in the third round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday.


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Greg Lea
Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).