Barnes claims United 'don't feel the responsibility of HAVING to win'

‘It’s still a huge club but I don’t think they feel the responsibility of HAVING to win’: Liverpool legend John Barnes claims a generation of Manchester United stars have dropped their standards and are happy just to play for a ‘bigger’ club

  • John Barnes believes Manchester United players don’t feel like they have to win
  • The former Liverpool star says there was a similar problem at Anfield in 1990s
  • United have failed to win the Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired
  • Barnes thinks some United players are happy just to say they play for the club 

John Barnes has claimed Manchester United’s slump since Sir Alex Ferguson retired is because the club’s players no longer feel like they have to win.

The Red Devils have failed to win the Premier League title since Ferguson’s final season in 2012-13 and currently find themselves in a battle for fourth place.

They have only lifted the FA Cup and Europa League in the last seven years and are a whopping 37 points behind runaway leaders and fierce rivals Liverpool in the table.

John Barnes believes Manchester United’s current crop don’t feel like they have to win games

Harry Maguire and Nemanja Matic (L-R) look dejected during a defeat by Burnley in January

Barnes believes the club’s sharp decline is because the players do not see winning games as a ‘responsibility’ and are happy just to be playing at Old Trafford.

‘If you look at Manchester United now, and it’s still a huge club, still got great players, but I don’t think they feel the responsibility of having to win,’ the Liverpool legend said on beIN SPORTS’ The Champions Club.

‘Speak to Man United fans now and they’re going “you know we’re going to finish fourth, we can finish fourth” and they will be happy with that because they’re in the Champions League and I think that’s the big difference.’

Barnes, who won 79 caps for England, lifted two First Division titles and two FA Cups during a decade at Anfield after arriving from Watford in 1987.

Explaining his opinion on United, the 56-year-old revealed that their current predicament reminds him of a problem at Liverpool in the early 1990s.

Sir Alex Ferguson lifts the Premier League trophy in 2011 after leading United to top spot

‘I see a huge similarity between Manchester United and Liverpool, huge similarity and I’ll tell you in what way,’ he said. 

‘In the way when I first went to Liverpool, they were a successful team before I was there and the demands to win and the pressure to win was the most important thing, regardless of whether they had superstars Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish and they had won everything. 

‘The demand to win everything was there. Then when all of a sudden, Manchester United, early nineties, and things had changed. 

If you look at the way the players were after say 1992-93, Liverpool still was a huge club, and it seemed that the players there were happy to be at Liverpool without necessarily recognising the responsibility to win. 

‘So when we were finishing third in the league, fourth in the league, we were still Liverpool players, bigger than 99 per cent of the teams, even if they finished above us, Arsenal whoever, but we were the Liverpool players without the demands to win. 

Barnes holds the First Division trophy with Peter Beardsley after helping Liverpool win the title

‘So we still got that kudos, that feeling that we are great, that we are better than everyone else because we are Liverpool players. 

‘Now with Manchester United, when Ryan [Giggs] was there and he came through and they started to win all the Premier League trophies, regardless of whether they won the Premier League the year before, they had that demand that they put on themselves to win. 

‘Then I think that after Man City took over, Manchester United still were the biggest club, and the players were happy to be with Manchester United without recognising the responsibility of having to win. 

‘Because if they finished third and Tottenham finished above they were still bigger than Tottenham players because they played for Manchester United and that happened at Liverpool.’

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