Manchester United great Gary Neville has insisted fans should focus more on the process and evolution of the squad rather than the final league standing.
Due to the Champions League’s riches, there has been an obsession with clubs reaching the top four spots in the Premier League.
David Moyes was sacked for failing to qualify for any European football while Louis van Gaal was fired for not getting to the top four after having done so in his first season.
Jose Mourinho’s poor performance in his third campaign saw him sacked when it was believed a Champions League qualification spot was no longer achievable.
It’s clearly a strategy with which United judge their managers on but Neville feels it has to be different with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
According to Sky Sports, Neville said: “Top four and winning a trophy would be a successful season. That’s where Manchester United are at.
“That is unacceptable in terms of where United need to be, but they are incapable – after six or seven years of poor recruitment – of going from seventh, sixth or fifth into first.
“They are nowhere near that at this moment in time. They are going to have to have three or four good transfer windows.
“The most important thing in the last window wasn’t just adding two or three players of the right type, it was making sure they didn’t make any further mistakes. I don’t think they’ve done that.
“I think Man Utd this season would be stronger with Herrera, Fellaini and Lukaku, but in the long term, they won’t be because those players will never get Man Utd where they need to be.
“Of course, Man Utd have to win the Premier League title. That has to be the barometer and should never change, but you can’t go from not liking the team with average football to winning the league.
“There’s a step in the middle of getting better football, liking the team and them you can start moving up.
“There have been clear examples. Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, he achieved Champions League success after four years without a trophy, but everyone at the club could see that he was on the right track.
“Frank [Lampard] and Ole have to convince their board and fans that they are on the right track.
“I think being on the right track this season is more important than fifth, fourth or third. People have to start liking the team again.”
There’s certainly truth to what Neville is saying as fans felt a lack of progress was more frustrating than anything else.
It wasn’t that Moyes failed in his duties but that it appeared he had no real plan for Manchester United.
Van Gaal had a plan but there was no progress with his side still playing mind-bogglingly boring football two years in.
Mourinho meanwhile seemed to alter his plan based on the opposition and all the drama surrounding the club got to the fans.