Any early optimism that surrounded Man Utd has firmly disappeared with questions being asked of the manager and Gary Neville’s recent comments are beginning to look way off the mark
Gary Neville’s criticism of Manchester United following their embarrassing defeat to Liverpool is a million miles away from the bold claim he made just weeks earlier.
The Red Devils are in the midst of a poor run of form, losing five of their last nine in all competitions.
Performances have left a lot to be desired, but things peaked on Sunday when the Reds won 5-0 at Old Trafford.
The Norwegian has been given time and money with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo arriving the summer.
United finished second last term, but some of their closest rivals endured their own troubles and that league position looks more and more deceiving by the week.
The Red Devils boss declared the defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s side his “darkest day” as the tough fixtures continue to come thick and fast.
Tottenham, Atalanta and City are United’s next three games and the poor set of results could get even worse.
Neville has continued to back Solskjaer, whom he played alongside for years, which has seen him come in for criticism.
‘Best in Europe’
The Sky Sports pundit waxed lyrical about the quality of England’s top flight only last month.
Chelsea are European champions, City and Liverpool have set the standard recently whilst United have invested under Solskjaer.
It saw Neville claim that the quartet were arguably the best teams on the globe.
He said on Sky Sports : “We could have the four best teams in the whole world at this moment in time. Liverpool’s first XI, if they can keep that fit, is possibly the best XI in the Premier League. And Liverpool aren’t even being talked about at the moment!
“Manchester City’s team is exceptional, Chelsea are strong like you wouldn’t believe, and Manchester United, with the addition of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, are going to be right in there amongst it.”
“Two English clubs, Chelsea and Man City, reached the Champions League final last season while Man United played in the final of the Europa League.”
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‘Nowhere near as good’
Just weeks later though and Neville claimed United aren’t close to winning Europe’s elite club competition or their domestic one.
Solskjaer’s side lost their Champions League opener to Young Boys but have since picked up successive wins.
Successes over Villarreal and Atalanta have covered up serious cracks with the performances well below par.
Neville said on Sunday: “I don’t think they’re close to winning the league. I don’t think they are close to winning the Champions League.
“I don’t think they’re are close to Man City, Liverpool or Chelsea at the moment.”
Solskjaer has come out defiantly, insisting he has “come too far” as United boss to walk away now.
Neville though believes the gulf between United and their rivals is a major concern.
He added: “Ole says they are close. I am not convinced because I look at those players and the other teams are really good and Man Utd are nowhere near as good. I want to see a structured, organised performance.”