Manchester United “haven’t got one player like Lionel Messi”, says Paul Parker, with the Old Trafford ranks full of squad players rather than match winners.
The Red Devils have invested heavily in attacking talent over recent years, bringing in the likes of Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku.
They are, however, considered to be lacking the same kind of spark possessed by the very best in the business.
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Those flaws were highlighted once again during a Champions League quarter-final clash with Barcelona, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side failing to muster a single shot on target during a 1-0 defeat.
Former Red Devils defender Parker believes United will struggle to overturn that deficit at Camp Nou as they do not boast enough leaders in their ranks to stage a stirring fightback.
He told Eurosport: “United haven’t got one player like Lionel Messi. He struggled [at Old Trafford], but still did enough to win his side the game.
“Now you are asking United to go and win a game at a venue where Barcelona have lost only one game this season against Real Betis in November.
“United have never won a game against Barcelona in the Camp Nou. The spirit of the 1999 final and their success in the Champions League against Bayern Munich doesn’t come into it.
“The mentally strong players that were there in 1999 don’t really exist these days. Not just at United, but across football.
“Fred has produced better form in Europe than he has been offering in England. Scott McTominay has excelled against Paris Saint-Germain and Barca, and was more confident on the ball than most United players, but they were up against a Barcelona team that was way off.
“United have a lot more squad players than players that can be trusted to play regularly in the first team, and that is an issue that will take time to change.”
Solskjaer is expected to be given funds with which to freshen up his squad this summer.
Big money has been called for, with United considered to be in need of some high-profile additions if they are to force themselves back into contention for major honours at home and abroad.