Tomasz Kuszczak has laid into former club Manchester United, claiming ‘it’s time the players go’ amid a dreadful season at Old Trafford which will see their trophy drought extend to five years.
The Red Devils look unlikely to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League, trailing fourth-place Arsenal by six points having played a game more than the Gunners.
They were also knocked out at the last-16 stage of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid and suffered shock third-round and fourth-round League Cup and FA Cup defeats at home to West Ham and Middlesbrough.
Tomasz Kuszczak has laid into ex-club Manchester United, claiming ‘it’s time the players go’
United look likely to miss out on Champions League football (pictured: Harry Maguire (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo (R))
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was also sacked in the first half of the season, with Ralf Rangnick coming in as interim boss following a brief caretaker role for Michael Carrick.
Erik ten Hag has now been confirmed as Solskjaer’s permanent boss and is set to be in charge of a summer exodus at Old Trafford, which is set to see the likes of midfielder Paul Pogba depart.
And Kuszczak – who played 61 times for United and was part of a squad that won three Premier League titles and the 2007-08 Champions League – has backed such a similar overhaul of the ‘underperforming’ playing staff.
‘Obviously, the whole process from last season has come to an end. A lot of disappointment,’ Kuszczak said when speaking exclusively to Sportsmail courtesy of bet365.
‘We’ve brought in a new manager and he’s tried to change things within the team, but we’re now in a place where we have to be honest, admit this team is underperforming and change the players.
They sit sixth in the Premier League, six points behind Arsenal having played a game more
Paul Pogba (R) is set to lead a summer exodus once Erik ten Hag replaces Ralf Rangnick (L)
‘We’ve been through so many managers now and I think it’s time the players go. If Manchester United want to get back on the right track and start performing again, they need fresh blood.
‘It all depends though on how the new manager wants to play. The philosophy of Manchester United has always been attacking football and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried that, Rangnick tried that and it doesn’t work. Two different managers in the past 12 months with the same core squad and nothing works.’
Kuszczak labelled his ex-club ‘shocking’ after suffering 5-0 and 4-0 top-flight defeats at the hands of Liverpool this season, and believes only goalkeepers David De Gea and Dean Henderson are assured of being at the club next season once ten Hag takes over.
‘Obviously, I expect a lot of changes. I want to see my beloved team playing at the right level and not conceding nine goals against Liverpool in one season and two games,’ he added.
‘It’s shocking and every position is under question, apart from the goalkeeper. David and Dean are very strong. Those are the only two who are safe.
Kuszczak (L), who won the 2007-08 Champions League with United, is in favour of a squad overhail
‘The rest, each position you look at there’s always questions. [Cristiano] Ronaldo is doing very well but he’s getting on now and can’t be given so much responsibility at the age of 37. But in summary every part of the team needs to be changed!’
Kuszczak also backed his former Man United team-mates De Gea and Ronaldo – who he says ‘has done nothing wrong’ since re-joining the club from Juventus last summer – as potential successors to Harry Maguire as club captain.
Rangnick fuelled debate earlier this week over whether Maguire – who could now miss the rest of the season with a knee injury – should remain as Man United captain under ten Hag by insisting skippers should be elected by team-mates.
But the former Poland international goalkeeper insists the underperforming England star is not to blame for United’s struggles.
He also believes only David De Gea (L) and Dean Henderson (R) are guaranteed to be at Old Trafford next season
Asked if De Gea should be made United captain, Kuszczak said: ‘Of course. Usually, the club captain is someone who has a lot of if not the most experience within the team.
‘There are so many good names who could be captain: Ronaldo, De Gea, I don’t see why either of them aren’t already.
‘You can tell after so many years at United De Gea has all the skill, experience and knowledge required to be captain.
‘It’s not just because he’s my friend and a fellow goalkeeper. It’s the amount of games under his belt, if the manager decides to make him club captain, he’ll do a great job.’
Kuszczak believes Ronaldo or De Gea should be named United captain under Ten Hag (above)
On Maguire, the 40-year-old added: ‘I wouldn’t blame Harry Maguire. I know he’s getting a lot of criticism but there’s more to it than him. He performed very well at Leicester, the English national team and even United when he first joined.
‘I wouldn’t say that he makes mistakes after mistakes. I wouldn’t even blame the centre backs for the defensive errors, I’d say the whole team is underperforming.
‘These players are good enough to perform at an elite level, but the whole structure at United doesn’t work.’