Even Messi cannot lift United: Scholes

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, seen complaining about a passage of play against Newcastle, was charged for language used after his side's 3-2 win against the Magpies.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, seen complaining about a passage of play against Newcastle, was charged for language used after his side's 3-2 win against the Magpies.PHOTO: REUTERS

Former midfield star bemoans fate of team under Mourinho, who faces touchline ban

LONDON • Paul Scholes has added to his lengthy list of criticisms against Manchester United, saying even Barcelona ace Lionel Messi would struggle to shine in the current team and that the 20-time English champions are a laughing stock for their rivals.

The former United midfielder has been a frequent and vocal critic of his old club, now languishing in eighth place in the Premier League.

Manchester City won last season's title in record-breaking fashion and Pep Guardiola's men are flying high at the top once more, alongside Liverpool and manager Jose Mourinho's former club Chelsea.

"United now feels like Liverpool from years ago, like we're making all the same mistakes they did," Scholes told ESPN.

"We were watching Liverpool and City from afar and smirking as they changed managers and players every year, never getting anything right.

"It feels like we have turned into a Liverpool or a Man City. I feel like people at Liverpool and Man City are looking at us and laughing like we did at them many years ago."

United have spent more than £350 million (S$631.3 million) on players since Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford in 2016. Despite that, costly signings including Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba have failed to flourish under him.

"I don't think there's a lack of quality there," added Scholes.

"I do think they miss a couple of real class players that other top teams seem to have - a link player between the midfield and the forwards and also a controlling midfield player.

"It feels like every player who comes into the team struggles. I feel like we could sign Lionel Messi at the moment and he'd struggle in this team."

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I feel like people at Liverpool and Man City are looking at us and laughing like we did at them many years ago.

PAUL SCHOLES, winner of 11 league titles with Manchester United, on the team's current state of affairs.

Mourinho, meanwhile, is facing a possible Premier League touchline ban for swearing into a television camera.

The FA announced on Tuesday that it had charged the Portuguese coach with using abusive, insulting or improper language. He was filmed mouthing words into a camera shortly after his team's 3-2 victory over Newcastle on Oct 6.

Using lip readers to study footage of the incident, the FA alleges Mourinho said "fodas filhos de puta", which translates as "F*** off, sons of a b****" in his native tongue.

Mourinho has until 6pm tomorrow to accept or deny the charge. If found guilty, his punishment is likely to be a fine or a touchline ban of at least one match.

While a ban seems the more likely sanction, there is a way Mourinho can delay the ruling to be pitchside at Stamford Bridge.

A three-man commission will hear evidence from those involved regardless of whether he accepts or denies the charge.

It is understood that if he delays his response until the last possible moment tomorrow evening, there will not be enough time for the commission to hear the case and pass judgment before Saturday's lunchtime kick-off at Chelsea.

This would leave Mourinho free to stand on the touchline for the match against his former club.

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2018, with the headline 'Even Messi cannot lift United: Scholes'. Print Edition | Subscribe