Derby flops Manchester United were terrified of rivals City, claims Old Trafford legend Paul Ince.
Jose Mourinho’s side were beaten 3-1 at the Etihad thanks to goals from David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan.
And Ince has laid into United’s stars who he claims showed no desire to fight back from conceding an early goal.
"United never looked like they were going to win the derby. In fact, they never even looked like they wanted to," he told Paddy Power.
"They looked scared of Man City, and that’s not the way it should be. In Jose Mourinho style, they were set up as though they were terrified of conceding any goals, and didn’t want to try and outscore them either.
"Once City got the first goal, they didn’t make any attempt whatsoever to get back to the game. And, even when they tried, they just weren’t good enough. We’ve been bigging up Anthony Martial for weeks – myself included – but ultimately, he didn’t perform in that game, and they’re the ones that really count.
"Even after the penalty, you’d expect a United side to come out fighting, but in fact they were terrified of City. At no stage in the game, did I watch it and think United could win it – how sad is that?"
United were missing Paul Pogba through injury with Marouane Fellaini starting in his place.
And Ince pinpointed the visitors’ midfield as a problem area as United fell 12 points behind their rivals in the Premier League.
"In terms of star quality, it was obvious that United missed Paul Pogba," he added. "There’s no doubt that he’s hard work, but they missed that presence he brings to the team. I looked at the midfield on Sunday, and there was nothing exciting.
"Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic don’t compare to Pogba, in terms of variety and excitement. He was missed, big time. It’s easy to underestimate just how valuable he is to the team.
"When I was watching the game, I realised there was not one world class player on the pitch for United, David De Gea aside. How has it come to that? When you look at City, nearly every player is at that level."
Mourinho has repeatedly complained about a lack of investment at United – but Ince dismissed that as an excuse.
He said: "The bottom line is, United’s recruitment hasn’t been as good at City’s. Money can’t be used as an excuse either – it’s not as though Jose Mourinho hasn’t had millions to spend.
"Each player on the pitch knows their role, and would walk into any team in the league. Fernandinho, for me, is the best holding midfielder in the world. People talk about N’golo Kante, but for me, what Fernandinho brings to the team is incomparable.
"The fact is, United are several years behind City. They need to come to the realisation that there’s serious catching up to do. Times have changed. Mourinho’s got to try and bridge that gap between the two teams, and honestly, I don’t think he’s capable."
Paul Ince was speaking exclusively to Paddy Power News. To read more, visit news.paddypower.com
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