Monday 17 June 2019

Manchester United’s struggles – what they said

United are sixth in the Premier League table, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool and 11 off fourth place.

Gary Neville believes Manchester City will finish the season as Premier League champions (Mike Egerton/PA)
Gary Neville believes Manchester City will finish the season as Premier League champions (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Press Association Sport staff

Manchester United suffered the latest setback in their troubled season on Sunday as they were beaten 3-1 at Liverpool.

And there were some strong views about the Old Trafford club aired by prominent names both before and after the game.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of what was said in relation to Jose Mourinho’s United, who are sixth in the Premier League table, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool and 11 off fourth place.

Gary Neville – former United captain

(Asked if he felt a change in management at the club was inevitable) “Yeah, I think it will happen. Whether it happens during the season. I think that my preference always would be to try to get to the end of a season.

“I think to be honest with you the boardroom is so naive it’s unbelievable. They are so naive to give him an extended contract knowing the cycle of Mourinho, with three years. The third year is always the difficult year for him. The minute he came back from pre-season he was at it, and the club lost control.

“There isn’t that experience or knowledge in the football club above him to be able to manage, control and handle him. You listen to press conferences and they are not sure what he’s going to say next and they don’t know what to do with him.

“Manchester United need to reset. And it’s not just the manager, it’s deeper than that.

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Gary Neville thinks it is time for a change at Manchester United (John Walton/PA)

“Liverpool are absolutely streets ahead of Manchester United. I can’t get over United’s central midfield. I mean if you’re Paul Pogba (who was an unused substitute) watching (Nemanja) Matic, (Ander) Herrera, (Marouane) Fellaini, Fred play the other night – not one of them can pass a football. Not one of them can actually receive the ball and pass the ball. They can’t take the ball and I just find it absolutely staggering. I thought United were awful to be honest with you today. It’s not good enough.”

Roy Keane – former United captain

“I think there’s one or two problems with players obviously not on top form, and the obvious one being Pogba. If Pogba’s sitting on the bench today, watching that game and not getting on, then you’re thinking his days must be numbered. I don’t think they’ll do anything with Pogba in January but come the summer you move him on and it’s no big deal, he’s left Man United before.

“If you came down from the moon and didn’t know anything about Man United, and you looked at Man United today, you’d be thinking they’re an average probably Premier League team. Some of these players, I feel, just aren’t good enough for Man United.”

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Paul Pogba was an unused substitute in the loss at Liverpool (Peter Byre/PA)

Keane said ahead of the game:  “In my time at United, we talk about trying to win trophies – you need, obviously, very, very good players. But I also felt we had really good characters, really good people. People you want to be in the trenches with. I think they’ve certainly lost their way and I look at the characters, or the lack of characters, the lack of maybe leaders in the team, and you come unstuck, especially in the big games.

“I think when you’re a manager or working on the sidelines you want to be able to trust most of your players. I don’t think Mourinho has too much trust in a lot of the United players.”

Alan Shearer – Former England captain

“At the moment in that Manchester United team, only David De Gea is performing to his potential.

“Something has to change at the club. The board either has to get rid of the manager or back him and let him get the players he wants because there is a lot of work needed in that team. There’s a lack of ability. The board clearly didn’t back him in the summer. Jose had his targets and for whatever reason they weren’t allowed to come in.

“But it’s not always the manager’s fault. I don’t think many United players came off on Sunday thinking they had done their best.”

Press Association

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