Former Southampton, West Bromwich Albion and current Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin has opened up on Manchester United's style of play. He also put forth his opinion on whether Cristiano Ronaldo is the reason behind the Red Devils' struggles this season.
Manchester United are currently seventh in the Premier League and have already been knocked out of the Carabao Cup. They have, however, qualified for the next rounds of the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League.
Questions have been raised about their style of play, which hasn't improved even with the appointment of interim manager Ralf Rangnick. It has also been claimed that Ronaldo's inability to press incessantly affects United's attacking prowess.
But Austin believes the Portuguese talisman is not to blame for the Red Devils' struggles, saying the side have 'no identity' even without him in the side.
Ronaldo wasn't part of the United squad that beat Aston Villa 1-0 in the FA Cup on Monday night. Despite the win, the Red Devils showed no considerable improvement from their last few outings. Speaking on talkSPORT, Austin said:
"They are not great to watch and I think, all right, they won last night, but the performance is what everybody wanted to see and it’s just not there. How I looked at it as well, Ronaldo wasn’t in the squad, wasn’t in the team. Over the last couple of weeks and months, all we keep hearing is that Ronaldo is the issue."
"If you are looking at it, people are like, 'Ronaldo's not performing'; look what he’s doing to the other players or the wide men are just looking for him all the time. He didn’t play last night. They performed the same... let’s be honest, they [have] performed like that for the last 6-8 games, even longer."
"They have been poor, and they are just using him as the main person to be. I know he is the talisman when it goes great but when it’s not, the sword falls on him. But looking at them, they are.. they have no identity. Well, I know it's a big statement, but I see it.. Man United don’t have the fear factor, they don’t have anything."
Ronaldo is Manchester United's top scorer this season, having netted 14 goals and laid out three assists in 21 appearances across all competitions.
Upcoming Manchester United fixtures
United will face Aston Villa for the second time in five days when they travel to Villa Park for a Premier League encounter on Saturday (15 January). They will face Brentford and West Ham United next in the league.
The Manchester-based side are currently seventh in the league, four points off fourth-placed Arsenal, but have a game in hand. Rangnick would like his side to close down the gap on the Gunners and push for a top-four finish in the second half of the season.
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