Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville gave his verdict on Manchester United’s 1-1 draw against Leicester City on Saturday, for his podcast with Martin Tyler.
The result was a damning blow for United’s chances of finishing in the top four.
And to make matters worse, Tottenham Hotspur battered Newcastle 5-1 on Sunday and Arsenal could stretch the gap even more if they beat Crystal Palace tonight.
Reflecting on United’s draw, Neville said the first-half looked like a Soccer Aid friendly match, after he was announced to play at this year’s event along with Patrice Evra.
He told Sky Sports: “It was like one of the COVID matches, wasn’t it?
“I got announced that I was playing in Soccer Aid this week and I thought I was watching it [in the] first half. It wasn’t good.
“When the teams came through, Martin, sometimes we’re sat up here, thinking about formations, who’s gonna play where – but we couldn’t quite work it out what Manchester United were going to do.
“We worked out pretty quickly that it was the same front six that played at Manchester City. And we thought, ‘Well they can’t play that again because that didn’t work at City’.
“Obviously, Leicester are a different team, but just the whole idea behind it, having no sort of penetration, no running in behind.
“And then you think Sancho and Elanga will play more narrow as split strikers but they didn’t, they played outside the full-backs. So, they were very wide and it left Pogba and Fernandes acting as dummy centre forwards.
“It was a struggle, that. That was a big struggle. I was expecting Manchester United to come and win this game and, you know, put pressure on the teams that are gonna go for that top four; Arsenal obvious, Tottenham [Hotspur]. They’re way off it, they’re absolutely way off it at this moment in time.
“We didn’t have an idea what they were going to do before the game but the bigger worry was that the players didn’t have an idea what they were doing – and that’s been the same all season.
“I said during the game, I think we’ve been so fortunate this season with the amount of quality games that we’ve seen from top to bottom, barring Norwich [City], every team you look at and think they know what they’re doing, they’re well organised, there’s no easy games.
“It’s a really tough Premier League, this. But this Manchester United team, for what they’ve had spent on it, all season, they haven’t got a clear idea.
“You talk about ‘philosophy’, I know it’s a bit of a buzz word, and has been for a few years now, but every team you watch, you have a clear idea of what they’re trying to do in possession and out of possession.”
While Neville is right in everything he said about Saturday’s performance, I feel like I am beyond the stage of anger. It doesn’t make me angry anymore to see such a performance from our players because it is to be expected at this point.
The team has shown no consistency whatsoever all season. Well, they have been consistently poor, but you get my point.
Something needs to change.