Paul Ince serves up a desperately gloomy assessment of Man United's future in the shadow of Man City
Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince suspects Manchester City are on course to dominate English football for years to come, as he believes United boss Jose Mourinho is facing up a huge rebuilding job as he looks to close the gap on his local rivals.
Ince’s gloomy assessment of the predicament facing his former side ahead of Saturday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium will concern United fans, with City aiming to be crowned as Premier League champions if they win the game.
"City would absolutely love to win it at their ground in front of their biggest rivals," stated Paddy Power ambassador Ince, who won two Premier League titles with United.
"It would symbolise a massive power shift in Manchester, and both sets of fans know that. It will go down in history. People will say: 'Do you remember when Pep won the title in front of Mourinho’s face? At The Etihad?'. It’s totally embarrassing for United fans.
"The gap between the two sides is enormous now. City are way ahead, and what’s obvious is United will need to spend heavily if they watch to catch up. But of course, Pep will be picking up the chequebook in summer too.
"So, if you ask me, you’re looking at a total domination by Man City. And not just now, but for years to come. That’s what is making United fans so nervous. We saw in the 80’s when Liverpool dominated football, then it went to Man United in the 90’s, and then in the 00’s we saw a mixture of clubs. No one has had total control and dominated the Premier League recently, but City are going to do exactly that.
"As long as Guardiola is there, I can’t see it changing. You’ve also got to bear in mind that Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea will build over summer. There are wolves at the door, and Mourinho and the fans know that. They’re going to need to spend a lot of money."
Ince went on to suggest the presence of Mourinho at United may be a negative factor ahead of this summer's transfer window, as he suggested top players may not want to move to Old Trafford to work with a manager who has a reputation for falling out with his star names and promoting a defensive brand of football.
"Cash aside, it’s also about attracting the right players," he added. "It’s evident that Mourinho hasn’t got the team that he wants, and there’s likely to be an exodus come the transfer window. But right now, do you think a player would seriously choose to go to Old Trafford ahead of City, based on the football being played?
"There’s a certain expectation of a Man United team. That they’re exciting, attacking and incredible to watch. Right now, they are none of those things. But City, Liverpool and Tottenham are. The fact is, the best players in the world want to play the best football.
"If we’re being honest, Man United fans have been frustrated all year. That’s because of the way City have been playing football. Deep down, the way they’ve been cutting teams apart and playing attacking football is how they wish Mourinho’s men were playing.
"There’s a lot of work to be done at Old Trafford. The Louis Van Gaal and David Moyes eras were huge setbacks, and it’s Mourinho’s job to repair that damage."
Paul Ince was speaking exclusively to Paddy Power News. To read more, visit news.paddypower.com