Gary Neville: I expected a lot more from Manchester United

by Marwan Harraz

Gary Neville appeared disappointed by his former club’s performance against Liverpool at Anfield, highlighting the second half in particular.

Manchester United struggled to a goalless draw against their fierce rivals, gaining a respectable draw away from home but it wasn’t enough for the former club legend.

Neville captained the Red Devils during his time at the club and faced Liverpool plenty of times over the years.

Now as a pundit for Sky Sports, the former United defender was critical of the team’s approach and style of play.

The result matched last year’s performance in another insipid match and it appears Jose Mourinho has a formula for shutting opposition teams down.

Speaking on Sky Sports he said: “In the first half I thought that United, to be fair, were definitely different to a year ago, there was more intent.

“The second half drifted back towards a year ago, I have to say, where Liverpool were the only team pressing.

“United’s intent and quality in the second half were nowhere near good enough. They started to resign themselves to a draw.

“[Anthony] Martial, [Marcus] Rashford, [Romelu] Lukaku and [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan were all on the pitch at various points. I expected more confidence and authority from them on the counter-attack.”

The Red Devils certainly weren’t lacking pace in their team but failed to effectively hit their rivals on the counter-attack. Unlike some free bets on the 2018 Grand National, United’s attack was lacklustre to say the least.

Instead, long, aimlessly passes were made forwards with the false hope that Romelu Lukaku would get on the end of them.

It almost appeared as though the United defenders were instructed to launch balls forward regardless of whether there was a more intelligent option available or not.

It was perhaps done to counter Liverpool’s high and intense pressing but the truth was that the quality of the passes made were far too poor to cause damage.

Manchester United didn’t seem capable of maintaining any composure in midfield, something that Mourinho attributed to his opposition’s reluctance to play more attacking.

Jurgen Klopp fielded three central midfielders compared to United’s two and both Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic didn’t have a good game, particularly the Spaniard.

Whether Jose employs the same tactics against the rest of United’s rivals is yet to be seen but after Saturday’s performance, many will hope it never happens again.

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