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Former Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham has criticised the direction of the Red Devils after their humbling 4-1 defeat to Manchester City.

United sit fifth in the Premier League and suffered a big blow in their race for Champions League qualification at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

They failed to register a single shot in the second half and had just eight per cent possession in the last 15 minutes of the game as Pep Guardiola’s team toyed with their neighbours.

Reports late on Saturday suggested Cristiano Ronaldo would not feature in the derby clash, with interim manager Ralf Rangnick confirming before kick-off that the Portugal forward was suffering from a hip problem.

Former United captain Roy Keane suggested before the game that Ronaldo’s omission may be down to other reasons after being left out for such an important fixture, though Rangnick later denied this.

Sheringham played for United between 1997 and 2001 and played a crucial role in the 1999 Champions League final win against Bayern Munich.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, Sheringham expressed his concern over a lack of direction at Old Trafford.

“I’ve been on both sides of the situation,” he said. “It grinds you down when these teams keep dominating you. When you’re playing in a team that’s so focused and all rowing in the same way, it’s all great.

“When you’re playing for a manager that some people are thinking ‘He won’t be here at the end of the season, I don’t really have to try my hardest. He’ll be gone, I’ll work for the next manager’, there’s vibes like that you can see all over the pitch. Players are getting left out. ‘Is he injured? Is he not?’

“There’s just problems at the club, and I think that comes from the leadership in the football club.

“You look at Manchester City. They are being led by a top man that is devoted to Manchester City being better. The best that they can be.

“When you look at Manchester United, they had an interim manager [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer], they sacked him. They get another interim manager in, what’s going on at this top football club? What is going on?

“And that filters down. If you’re getting someone who’s there for the long stay and the desire to make them better, everyone can follow with you.

“But when it’s not, it makes it hard for everyone to follow in that same way because it’s going to change at the end of the season again we’ve got to start again with another manager with new ideas again.”

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