Manchester United legend Gary Neville has insisted that the club is ‘on the right track’ despite taking just five points from their opening four Premier League games of the season and is urging frustrated fans to look beyond the results alone.
United thrashed Chelsea 4-0 on the opening day of the season last month, but have since failed to beat Wolves, Crystal Palace and Southampton, even after taking the lead in two of those.
Critics are already starting to question whether manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will last the season – some even suggest the Norwegian could be dismissed before Christmas.
“I think they are on the right track because the first thing United have to do, they have to have a group of people in that changing room that want to be there. Forget how talented they are,” Neville commented on his self-titled Sky Sports podcast.
The retired right-back referenced Sir Alex Ferguson showing the door to established players Norman Whiteside and Paul McGrath 30 years ago in order to change the culture at the club and has suggested that Solskjaer is similarly ‘trying to play the long game’.
“He's going to need really strong leadership over the next two or three seasons to be able to have those four or five transfer windows that he needs, not just to actually get people in the dressing room all facing the same direction, but to get the quality in that's needed,” Neville added.
“What Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have done at Manchester City and Liverpool, it took time to get right. It's taken Klopp three or four years to affect the culture fully [at Liverpool] and get a team fully in what he would say is his style, his culture and what he wants to do.”
Neville admitted that disappointing results like those against Wolves, Crystal Palace and Southampton are going to unavoidable along the way - “but when you watch the team a lot of the principles are correct.
“They seem to be playing the right way. You see Daniel James score that goal and you see the way in which they are trying to play. The style of it is right. The bones are there but there's still a very long way to go, and it's going to be bumpy along the way.”
Read more on the subject of United being on the right track here - ‘Manchester United Fans Must Have Patience With This Season's New Look Squad’