Manchester United legend Gary Neville is not convinced his former side have what it takes to win the Premier League this season but says there are clear signs of improvement in Ole Gunnar Solskaer’s team.
It’s the strongest position the club have been in going into the New Year since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement and hopes have been raised that the club can mount a full-fledged title charge this term.
While Neville believes United’s array of ‘game-changers’ have torpedoed the side up the table, the former skipper doesn’t see enough consistency in performances for the club to win the league.
‘It was a big, big win for United,’ he said on The Gary Neville Podcast.
‘I’m so looking forward to that [Liverpool game]. Not because I’m here thinking United can go to Anfield and win, but because United have become competitive out of nowhere
‘I remember sitting at Old Trafford after that Manchester derby [goalless draw], sat with Roy Keane and Micah Richards, saying that Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham were far ahead of the two Manchester clubs at this moment in time
‘If you’d have said at the start of the season, or even five weeks ago, that United would be level with Liverpool, I’d have said no chance, that can’t happen.
‘That shows how unusual this season is. What Manchester United have is a lot of match-winners – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Daniel James, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford… Game-changers.
‘They do it in moments, and they don’t always have to be playing well when you have those players on the pitch.
‘The performances are getting better, it’s a work in progress, it’s not by any stretch the finished article. At times in games they mesmerise you for 10 minutes, and then can turn into a nightmare for 10 minutes.
‘But there’s confidence building, something is growing, there’s a spirit at the end of the game with the players celebrating was nice to see.’
However, Solskjaer’s brought a feel-good factor back to the club by blending British players with top-level foreign recruits, as well as blooding youngsters from the academy.
Neville now says he sees a likeable side and they have surprised him with their ascent this term.
‘I think a couple of years ago I said quite publicly at times there was a team I didn’t like watching wearing those red shirts. I see them now, and I felt last season they looked a lot happier, and this season they seem happier again.
‘Who knows? I don’t think they’ll win the league, I don’t think they’re quite there, but I didn’t think they’d be anywhere near at this stage, and they are.
‘And for that, we’ll look forward to that trip to Anfield with great glee – and hope we can tweak the tail of the tiger a little bit more!’.