Meulensteen names two Man Utd stars who ‘can’t handle’ pace of the Premier League

Joe Williams
Rene Meulensteen and legendary Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
Rene Meulensteen and Sir Alex Ferguson on the touchline during a match.

Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen insists Raphael Varane and Casemiro “cannot handle the pace” of the Premier League.

The Red Devils have had a terrible start to the new season with four wins and four losses seeing them sit tenth in the Premier League standings, while they are currently rooted to the bottom of their Champions League group.

Man Utd eased some of the pressure on Erik ten Hag over the weekend by beating Brentford 2-1, thanks to two stoppage time Scott McTominay goals.

A number of Man Utd players have come under fire, including new goalkeeper Andre Onana, but Meulensteen reckons Varane and Casemiro are showing clear signs of not being able to deal with the pace in the Premier League.

“United have certain shortcomings,” Meulensteen told ESPN.

“(Varane) cannot handle the pace. The Premier League is dynamic. Everything goes at 100 kilometres per hour. That is the big problem in midfield. They have no energy and that is how the defence gets into trouble.

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“He (Ten Hag) wants to put a lot of pressure on, with a lot of intensity. Just like at Ajax. But he doesn’t have the players for that. The players don’t have the mentality to constantly put pressure on.

“Casemiro, for example, can’t handle it at all. Ten Hag has a certain conviction about how he wants to play. But he has to find ways to get there.”

When asked about his thoughts on Man Utd’s start to the season, Meulensteen said: “It is worrying. Everyone was talking about Ten Hag’s past year. He can look back on a reasonable season with a third place, Champions League football and one trophy.

“Ninety percent of the fans were satisfied with that, but then you still want to build further. The first few months in particular are worrying, when you see how they have come out of the preparation. They have not won many matches and you are being held accountable for that.

“When you lose, but play well, there is not much going on. But a lot has happened. With Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood and this season Jadon Sancho and Antony. Looking back at the beginning of this season, it was said: let’s get Harry Kane and Declan Rice. These are guys who know what is wanted in the Premier League. Kane is good for minimum 25 goals in a season.”

Ten Hag has been allowed to bring in his own players at Man Utd and Meulensteen reckons his compatriot now has to take responsibility if he fails this season.

Meulensteen continued: “He has brought in all the players and cannot say that he has not been supported. He has indicated that he is happy with this. He gets a lot of credit from the fans. I understand that. But these are not players who were brought in by the Glazers and are now on the field.

“The responsibility of the players who are now on the field standing is really up to Erik. And that’s how it should be.”