Andy Cole says the “respect as gone” for Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez as the Manchester United pair have to prove themselves again after a “free hit” in their first season at Old Trafford.
Both Casemiro and Martinez enjoyed stellar debut seasons for the Red Devils, drawing widespread acclaim for their performances under Erik ten Hag.
But the pair have struggled along with the rest of their teammates this term, with Casemiro looking leggy in midfield and Martinez’s decision-making at the back questioned on a number of occasions.
And Cole – who won five Premier League titles and the Champions League for United, scoring 121 goals in the process – claims both players are suffering from “second season syndrome” in the Premier League.
Cole told Betfred: “The first season for a new signing is a free hit. The second season is always your toughest season and in Casemiro’s case, forget that he played for Real Madrid in Spain and won loads of honours because the Premier League is completely different to La Liga.
“The same goes for Lisandro Martínez. Lisandro was excellent last season but now we’re in a new season, so whatever respect people had for you in the previous campaign is gone now because you need to prove that you can perform in your second year at the club and show that you’re consistent.
“When you play in your second season of the Premier League, the opposition is going to be more aware of what your capabilities are. Second season syndrome in the Premier League exists and at this present time, these two players aren’t playing particularly well.”
United have managed just six points from their opening five Premier League games this term and fell to a 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.
Ten Hag said after the game that his side “have to make our own luck” after a tough run domestically and in Europe.
He said: “What you have seen is a very high level. Against Arsenal, Munich, Brighton. All top, top level teams and we are going head to head but they win. And yeah, then the way they win, we have to make our own luck.
“And that has to do with with absolute determination. And then we make our own luck. You don’t get it because no-one will win you anything in football.”