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Teddy Sheringham Exclusive: Old Trafford Fear Factor Gone

Teddy Sheringham Exclusive: Old Trafford Fear Factor Gone

United have lost four Premier League games at home this term, including a 5-0 humiliation against rivals Liverpool. They were also knocked out of both domestic cup competitions at Old Trafford, with Championship side Middlesbrough eliminating them from the FA Cup on penalties. And Sheringham thinks it will take a long time for the Red Devils' historic ground to regain its intimidating reputation, comparing his old team's situation to Liverpool's before the arrival of Jurgen Klopp.



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Old Trafford No Longer A Fortress

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “[Turning Old Trafford into an intimidating place again] doesn’t come easy. It’s not a switch, you can’t just press a button. 

“We’ve all seen Liverpool in the 80s, and then it changed in the 90s, they were all talking about it, ‘Let’s get that switch back.’ 

“It’s taken a long time to get back, for someone to come along in Jurgen Klopp, with the right credentials and desire and beliefs and the understanding of what it takes to run a football club and to get the ship on the right path. 

“I don’t see that happening [at United] at the moment. I’d love to see it happening but I don’t see it happening at the moment, Because, from the top, without even getting to the changing rooms, United is being led the wrong way and I don’t see that fortress being built this season.”

The 55-year-old also cast doubt over United’s top-four and Champions League credentials this term.

“[United have] got to be aiming for fourth spot, but they are going to have doubts,” he continued. “There’s a lot of teams vying for that spot. 

“If you’re going to get that fourth spot, everybody’s got to be pulling in the same direction, and at the moment I don't see that being the case at Manchester United. 

“There’s a lot of upheaval up there and I think there will be even more towards the end of the season. 

“It’s a case where United will have to dig deep, and if [Ralf] Rangnick can get that togetherness then they’ve got a chance to get the fourth spot.  

“I don't see them winning the Champions League, not with their up and down performances. You’ve got to play to a certain level consistently, which I don't see Man United having at the moment, because you’ve got to be a top team to win the Champions League.”

Dressing Room Culture An Issues

Ex-England star Sheringham suggested that one of the issues preventing United from competing at the highest level is the club’s dressing room culture.

He explained: “The standards that were set by Sir Alex years ago, the players took that on and then they told other players that came in and showed other players when they came into the club, ‘this is how it’s done.’ 

“Players were pulled aside at certain times and told, ‘no, we don't do that here.’ It doesn’t seem like that’s the case at the moment. 

“It seems like United have amassed a lot of good players, top players, but everyone seems to be doing what they want at the moment. There’s no leadership, there’s no togetherness, there’s no camaraderie to pull you through difficult times.

“You don't have to be best mates, but you have to have a respect for each other about what you’re doing in your professional job; the respect and desire to take you and the team to the next level is what it’s all about.  

“If you haven’t got that then you’re going to fall by the wayside because there’s going to be another team coming up that have it and know what it takes to take your place.”

Reflection On 1999 Treble Campaign

Sheringham then revealed how the team approached the second half of the season in United’s 1999 treble-winning campaign, when he was a part of the playing squad.

“There wasn’t a lot talked about in those days,” he said. “You had big games coming up, you had the Champions League games coming up, we had Arsenal in the semi-final of the FA Cup. 

“It wasn’t talked about because it had never been done before, but it is talked about every year when we get to the business end of the season now. 

“If a club is still in all of its competitions, the treble, the quadruple, they get mentioned and everyone gets excited, but before you know it you’re knocked out of everything and you may lose the league as well. 

“When we did so well in the semi-final of the Champions League and then beating Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final, where Giggsy [Ryan Giggs] scored that wonder goal at Villa Park, all of a sudden you start thinking, ‘oh my god, hold on, we’ve got a chance here, we’re close now, we’re going into the middle of April with maybe a month left of the season, we’ve got a real chance of doing this.’

“It still wasn’t talked about in the dressing room. Everything was one game at a time, ‘let’s see where it takes us.’

“I think actually, the manager was always like that, very straight-laced, very Scottish. He’d say, ‘what you getting excited for?’ 

“We had a captain that was very serious at that time, he didn’t have to say it, he might just look at you. Someone in the team could have mentioned it after they’d scored a goal or when we were winning in the league, ‘Oh, the treble.’

“Don’t even say it. ‘What you talking about it for?’ You’d get a slap. It was just a vibe around the place that was like, ‘what you getting excited for? You ain’t done anything, you [haven’t] won one, what you talking about three for? We’ve still got a month of the season, things can go very pear-shaped.’ 

“I think it was great that we had that, we had those people leading us that kept our feet on the ground.”

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