Stoke City manager Mark Hughes believes Manchester United are failing their fans by not playing entertaining football under Louis van Gaal.
Former United forward Hughes is still regarded in relatively high esteem among the Old Trafford faithful given he went on to play for Chelsea and has managed Manchester City, perhaps speaking for his own ability to entertain as a player.
Hughes scored 163 goals in 473 appearances for Manchester United across two separate stints, winning two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
But Hughes believes the United team have failed in their duty to entertain, suggesting most players are not handling the pressure that comes with playing at Old Trafford amid a six-game winless streak in all competitions.
“There’s a responsibility to entertain. You’re on a huge stage playing for a world renowned club. That’s always been the Manchester United way,” Hughes said.
“It’s always been woven into fabric of the club and the teams that have put the shirt on.
“It’s a huge demand to play for Manchester United and a lot of players can’t deal with it. Over the years there have been some outstanding players which have gone to Manchester United and haven’t been able to deal with the expectation that comes with being a United player. That can have an effect.
“I think there is a little bit of noise surrounding the club and debate about how they are playing – which way the club is going. I think with all United teams there is a responsibility and an onus on the players to go out and perform like Man United players, and understand what the demands of being part of a big club like Man United entails.”
United manager Van Gaal has found his job become increasingly uncertain as pressure continues to pile on him following three consecutive defeats.
Hughes commended United’s ability to control games with possession, but said his old club have to get back to entertaining fans if they wanted the boo-boys to back down.
“People go to United in numbers and if the level of performance isn’t correct then they will let their feelings be known,” Hughes said.
“That’s what happens here as well. Nobody backs away from that.
“You understand as a manager that if your team is not functioning as well as your fans think they should then questions will be asked and people will vent their frustration towards you. It’s nothing new, and it will never change.”