Gary Neville has urged Manchester United’s forwards to watch their rivals Liverpool to make themselves a more effective attacking force.
With the shackles of defensive responsibilities off in the second half against Chelsea last Saturday, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku ran riot. Martial netted twice and although Man United couldn’t hold their lead, there were more positives than negatives.
However, Neville wants to see the club’s wide forwards, namely Rashford, Martial and Chilean Alexis Sanchez, learn off Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah and start making runs inside rather than sticking to the wings all the time.
The former-United right-back thinks the goalscoring contribution of the Reds’ front three should be far greater.
“They need more from the front three, there’s so much talent there,” Neville explained to Sky Sports.
“If you think of Lukaku, [Alexis] Sanchez, Martial and Rashford, they need more from them. I want to see more runs past Lukaku.
“I want the two wide players, whoever they are – you see what Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah do for Liverpool, how they make those narrow runs inside.
“I’m not saying they have to play narrow but wherever you start, you’ve got to end up in goalscoring positions more often and you’ve got to show that little bit of quality and composure in the final third.”
Neville has set a target for United’s front three to hit 65 goals per season. So far this campaign, Sanchez and Rashford have scored once, Martial has netted four times and Lukaku has four goals to his name, too.
It’s far from good enough, according to Neville.
“I know they’re still young, but they’ve had two or three seasons in the first team and yes, it took Cristiano Ronaldo three or four seasons so there is still that growth to come, but they are getting lots of chances,” Neville said.
“They could score 20 goals a season from those positions and Lukaku could score 25 – that’s a target of 65 goals.
“Is 65 goals between those players, including Sanchez, too much to ask? I don’t think it is.”
It’s a reasonable target and one that United fans should be seeing. The club haven’t had a consistent front three for some years now. Even under Sir Alex Ferguson, it was Robin van Persie leading the line by himself rather than a collective forward line like Tevez, Ronaldo, Rooney.