Manchester United, the most successful club in English football, is enduring its worst start to a league campaign in 29 years. There is uncertainty over the future of manager Jose Mourinho, talk of player unrest, reports of leaks from within to the media, and distinguished ex-players have been venting their ire.
Former striker Louis Saha admits all is not well at Old Trafford, that the situation is "not normal" and that everyone at the club is to blame for the torrid start to the season.
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"It has been intense. They [the players] seem lost," Saha, signed by Alex Ferguson from Fulham for $16.40 million in 2004, tells CNN Sport. "Right now, there's not enough connection."
United has lost three of its opening eight games in the English Premier League, while ahead of the team's home match against Newcastle on Saturday -- which United went on to win 3-2 thanks to a thrilling comeback in the last 20 minutes -- there were reports in British newspapers that Mourinho was set to be sacked after the match.
Asked whether there was a problem at the club, the Frenchman -- who earned 20 international caps for his country -- replied: "Yes, when there is no result of course there is things to change and everyone is to blame. The players, the staff, they have to do more. It's not about one game or two, it's about being consistent.
"They may lose some games, but we should not have anyone questioning desire. It should not happen."
Gary Neville, a former United teammate of Saha's, has described the club as being "rotten to the core," and blamed executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and other board members of surrendering too much power to players and allowing "the tail to wag the dog."
The relationship between Mourinho and the club's record signing Paul Pogba has come under increasing scrutiny.
Pogba has been criticized by many for talking to much to the media, while the manager has told the France World Cup winner he will not captain United again and last month the pair shared a frosty exchange during training.
"If Gary Neville thinks there's something wrong I think you have to listen," added Saha, who went on to play for Everton and Sunderland after leaving United in 2008.
"People will talk about Pogba and Mourinho. They are actors. They [the players] have to understand they have to be at their best. They all have the answers.
"There is things going on in the press, distracting from the way they are playing. This is not normal.
"Sometimes at manager level as well I think there are game decision that have been wrong, but millions of fans have an opinion. We don't know, what we can see is on the field."
Saha said players needed protecting from the media, admitting it was a surprise that a club of United's stature was not looking after its image and not appearing to help players in the digital age.
The leaks to the media of impending sackings and player unrest, the 40-year-old Saha said, would be affecting the squad.
He said: "It's all changed now, it's social networks, there's a lot of media for sponsors ... If you play with that it can backfire sometimes. You have to be careful.
"It's about getting the actual image of the players and the club in the best way possible and I don't think it's been done.
"If people are talking this way something is wrong. I see information, leaks, it's not normal. Whoever is trying to deal with that of course will have to punish because this is not normal.
"And it does, of course, [affect the squad]. Before, information would go to newspapers, they [the players] may not see it. But if it goes on social and he's on the phone every day it will have an affect. Those guys are on the phone every day."
Louis Saha was speaking in London at the launch of AFDP Global.
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