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Paul Merson harshly criticized Manchester United following the club’s defeat to Fulham.
After a shaky start to Erik ten Hag’s second campaign at the club, United looked to have finally found their form with an unbeaten start to 2024 with four wins in a row.
However, at Old Trafford the hosts were forced to go back for long stretches, with Calvin Bassey giving Fulham the lead in the 65th minute.
Harry Maguire’s goal on the stroke of injury time looked to have saved a point for United, but Alex Iwobi would restore the visitors’ lead late on and condemn United to defeat.
Speaking after the match, the former Arsenal and England star insisted the result was more a reflection of United’s incompetence than Fulham’s success.
Manchester United’s unbeaten start to 2024 ended on Saturday thanks to a late goal from Alex Iwobi
But Paul Merson insisted Fulham’s victory was fully justified after United’s “shocking” performance.
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‘Manchester United was shocking, I’m not exaggerating. Absolutely shocking,” Merson said on Sky Sports.
‘You know, how can they think they can be in the top four. And what’s the point of finishing in the top four? Just to get into the Champions League. They are not going to win it. So what’s the point of being there?
Ahead of Saturday’s clash, a billboard outside Old Trafford parodying Carlos Tevez’s infamous “Welcome to Manchester” sign showed Sir Jim Ratcliffe in the club’s famous red.
Earlier this week, the INEOS boss insisted he wants United to usurp their rivals and re-establish their former dominance in the Premier League.
“We have a lot to learn from our noisy neighbor and the other neighbor,” he said, referring to City and Liverpool. ‘They are the enemy at the end of the day. There’s nothing I’d like more than to knock you both off your perch.
Referring to Ratcliffe’s comments, Merson insisted that no investment would allow United to close the gap on the field, particularly against their city rivals.
Merson added that despite Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s lofty ambitions, United remain far behind their rivals.
They are a pound apart. Merson continued.
‘Honestly, I don’t know where they’re going to catch up. Where he went, I want to take over Man City, wow, put him in to try and take over a couple of the others first.
‘You know what I mean? You come in like, “I’m going to take over Man City.” Just go right, wait a minute, you know, for the next few years, we’re going to have to try to catch them and then we’ll catch them. I mean, there’s no chance.
‘This is going to be very slow. This will not happen overnight. This is going to be very, very slow. If Man United were to win the league in the next five years, whoever the manager is should be knighted.