Mikael Silvestre Exclusive: Not Much To Be Proud Of At United
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Mikael Silvestre Exclusive: Not Much To Be Proud Of At United

Former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre believes the Premier League would benefit from the Red Devils becoming the formidable force they once were – and has lamented his old club’s recent struggles. United have not won a league title since the 2012-13 campaign – Alex Ferguson’s final season – and are presently sixth in the table, 26 points behind leaders Manchester City having played a game more. As a result of the team’s lack of recent success, a number of former players have been critical of the club, with Silvestre sharing their frustration.


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Sad Situation At United

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “I have the same feeling as [former players] and the fans. It’s sad because it's a waste. 

“The club has been criticised by some fans for not investing, but if you look at the transfer spend and wage bill, we can’t deny that the owners have not been supporting the managers over the years. 

“Despite the investment, the results are not there. The Premier League needs a strong Manchester United, and since 2013 United fans have been in agony. 

“Okay, last season we finished second, but the gap is massive and we know that in terms of the performances of the team, United are too far away from Manchester City and Liverpool. 

“When we know the history of the club and the money that has been spent, it doesn’t add up and that is where the frustration is. 

“You want to see good football. You want to see good players. You want to see titles so you can celebrate. 

“There is not much to be proud of at the moment and to celebrate. We all share this feeling of being hurt because we care.”

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New Manager Needs Old Guard Support

Silvestre feels that incoming United manager Erik ten Hag should tap into the experience of the old guard, as he looks to take the club back to the top.

“I think that these players, players that are born and bred at Manchester United, players who spent their entire careers at United, should be heard,” he continued. 

“They should work with the club and become consultants, to help the club understand what they need and how these problems can be fixed, because they’ve lived it. 

“They’re part of the history of the club – they won the treble – they won so many titles. They care about the club, that’s why they are so open about it and I understand why they are frustrated. 

“They are not criticising for the sake of it. They are not happy about the situation and take no pleasure from what is happening, trust me. 

“If I was Erik ten Hag, I would call a few of these guys and invite them for a coffee – nothing formal, just a conversation with them to understand what United is about, because you can go to the museum, you can speak to people at the club but speak to the actual builders – the legends. 

“Sit down with Sir Alex Ferguson and have a conversation, take as much insight as you can to make the job easier because managing Manchester United isn’t easy. 

“Erik will need to get the right results quickly and on top of that you need to re-establish what United is about – the DNA of the club. 

“It is going to be difficult. It is not a one-man job and I hope that Erik will be given the time to assess the situation properly before he starts thinking about recruitment and the season ahead. 

All the top, top clubs in Europe have former players, and I’m not talking about one or two, they have former players at all levels – academy, youth groups, all the way up to top management, they have former players because they translate those values, they know what it takes. 

“They can recognise players that will fit into that DNA and the club’s overall objectives. 

“It's common sense and it comes from their own experiences – they lived it – being in the dressing room they know what United’s values are and I think that this could only be beneficial, instead of having these guys on the outside. 

“If you want to embrace the United philosophy and history, I think you should connect with the people that have been through it.”

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More Commitment Needed

The former France international also called on United’s current crop to show more commitment in their performances between now and the end of the campaign, in order to win the fans back.  

“The players need to fight harder,” Silvestre added. “If some of the individuals can’t give 90 minutes, then play 60 or 70 but with full commitment. They need to give more to the team. 

“The players are a little bit worried about making mistakes and taking risks, but at this point they have nothing to lose so they should just give their all, individually and as a team. 

“We saw the effort that Everton put in against Liverpool, that was a fight. The United players need to fight for every point that is left this season. 

“There is no other way. It isn’t rocket science. Win your challenges, your duels and half of the job is done. 

“The players need to provoke support with their performances. They need to actually deserve it. They have to repay the fans’ faith and support. 

“The Arsenal game was much better in terms of body language and attitude. Hopefully they can keep that momentum in terms of playing for each other and the pride of the badge. 

“If they can show that at Old Trafford, and show that commitment, they will get the love back.”

 

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