Louis van Gaal was wrong to drop captain Wayne Rooney for the Boxing Day defeat to Stoke City, according to former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke.
Rooney was named on the bench for the Saturday's 2-0 loss at the Britannia Stadium - the United skipper coming on at half-time after Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic had scored the only goals of the game.
The England captain has been criticised for his form this term but Yorke was critical of Van Gaal's decision as the Dutchman's future looks increasingly uncertain after a fourth-straight defeat.
"It was painful watching Man United, you look at a team that is lacking in confidence," Yorke said on Sky Sports.
"[There is] no sparkle whatsoever within that team. You look at the bench to see who can bring someone who could come on apart from Wayne Rooney and bring something different to the team. We seem to be short in every department this afternoon.
"When you look at where Man United are now - sixth in the league, out of the Champions League, lost to Bournemouth, Norwich, now at Stoke, it's been his worst run here.
"I look for leadership, for fight throughout the team, the togetherness, and all of those things seem to be missing. Of course, leaving out your talisman, your captain in the most difficult situation.
"Someone with his experience, even though his form has not been the greatest, I felt it went against [Van Gaal] and he got it wrong again.
"I think the timing was wrong, he's had so many opportunities to leave Wazza out and in his most difficult time as United manager to leave your captain out I think was a big call.
"He's an experienced manager and you have to make these calls but it went against him today and I think it was the wrong move."