Soccer – O’Shea surprised by Manchester United slump

Sunderland captain and experienced defender John O’Shea has suggested Manchester United have lost some of their sparkle.

O’Shea played in the 2-1 defeat of Louis van Gaal’s men at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and the Republic of Ireland international is convinced his former club have lost some of their box-office attraction.
“Because of the season they are having and the amount of injuries they have got, it is difficult for them [to retain their aura],” he told reporters.
“They still have some very good attacking players. I thought our full-backs did particularly well in closing them down, but they don’t have as many players as they used to have.”
Under-pressure manager van Gaal has seen his tenure come under increasing attack in recent weeks and reports have suggested Old Trafford officials have already met with Jose Mourinho for talks about replacing him.
O’Shea, who won five Premier League titles and the Champions League in a trophy-laden spell at Old Trafford, says the veteran Dutch coach must deliver qualification for the Champions League for next season.
He said: “Champions League qualification is the minimum target for them. That is the given beforehand, when you look at the squads and the budgets, and what is spent at clubs to get into the Champions League.”
Fifth-placed Manchester United, six points off fourth, are currently priced 9/2 by Bet365 to secure a top-four finish at the end of the season.