Monday 25 March 2019

Gary Neville admits Manchester United face a daunting finale to the season after defeat at Arsenal

Gary Neville concerned Manchester United's squad may be stretched to breaking point in the final weeks of the season (Mike Egerton/PA)
Gary Neville concerned Manchester United's squad may be stretched to breaking point in the final weeks of the season (Mike Egerton/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Gary Neville believes Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a huge challenge to guide his side towards success in the final few weeks of the season after their 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday.

United failed to build on their thrilling Champions League victory against Paris Saint-Germain as Arsenal ended Solskjaer's unbeaten run in the Premier League, as Arsenal leaped back into the Premier League's top four after a significant victory at Emirates Stadium.

United are now in fifth place and remain three points behind third place Tottenham, with the race to secure a top four finish taking another twist after Chelsea drew against Wolves on Sunday.

The manner of their setback at Arsenal suggested some United players are feeling the pace of a hectic fixture schedule, with United legend Neville suggesting the challenge in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup could be too big a workload for Solskjaer's players.

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Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

"After the absolutely incredible feeling of Wednesday night (beating PSG), you settle down on the Thursday and start to look at the fixtures and you think, oh," said Sky Sports pundit Neville.

"The way that Ole is asking them to play, they can't cope with it physically some of the players because they are being asked to run a lot further than they were previously.

"The momentum is incredible but there's still a long way to go for this to be a successful season for Manchester United. It is a big opportunity but it is also a huge challenge now for Ole to manage that.

"It's all to play for. They just need to make sure they don't fall in between everything and end up doing well but then not concentrating on one competition or the other. That's something Ole has to manage in these next five or six weeks."

The final few weeks of the season could be hectic for United, with FA Cup and Champions League commitments adding to their challenge of trying to secure a top four finish in the Premier League.

"That period down to April 28 is a really testing period with the Champions League quarter-finals," added Neville.

"The European Cup quarter-final could be Manchester City. It could be a huge game. There is potentially an FA Cup semi-final thrown in there too. There's City and Chelsea and also Everton away with a squad that's creaking under injury."

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