If football was a battle of words, Gary Neville’s performance against Jamie Carragher in the Sky Sports studio would have won Manchester United at least a point this weekend.
The pair went head to head in a discussion about the current state of affairs in the Premier League ahead of today’s big showdown (via The Telegraph).
The Red Devils went top of the Premier League on Tuesday evening having beaten Burnley at Turf Moor and this was the first topic for debate, with Carragher ridiculing United fans for celebrating being top after 17 games.
‘Liverpool fans are portraying United fans as getting carried away,’ Neville responded.
‘I genuinely do not know any United fan who is. We are just having a four-day ball. An unexpected party we did not think would happen. It is certainly not getting carried away.
‘A four-day lockdown party at Liverpool’s expense and it is fantastic. No-one in the country expected United to be top in January. We are having a bit of fun. It seems as though the Liverpool fans are biting a little bit – for no reason!
Neville then made the point that even if United are not quite ready to win the league this season, the fact that it is even being discussed is proof that they have made progress.
‘I still don’t think United are going to win the league, but the fact we are thinking about it is a big leap forward. Talking about it means progression,’ the former England man said.
Carragher was not impressed. ‘We’re not even halfway through the season. United have improved, but not massively,’ he said.
‘If Liverpool and City get to anywhere where they have been in the last couple of years in the second half of the season, that will make it difficult for United.’
‘What gives me confidence going into this game is Liverpool have won almost every big game they have played. Or when a team has come to play, they have done well.
‘If Man United come and play and try to win the game – and I think they will – it gives me a lot more confidence that Liverpool will just edge it.
Neville responded that United would not fall into that trap. ‘What Jamie wants is for United to go gung-ho and attack like mad so his mob can counter-attack,’ he claimed.
‘I would be delighted for it to be 0-0 with half an hour to go. United need to get through that first 15 or 20 minutes, do not over-commit – it would be madness to over-commit against this Liverpool team – keep it tight and compact, stop the passes into the front three, stop the full-backs.
‘If it goes into the latter part of the game I fancy United.’
‘Sir Alex used to say: “If you win at Anfield, then you’ve got a great chance of winning the league”. If you left Anfield with a victory, you felt on top of the world. If you lost, Sir Alex’s mood was terrible.
‘Defeats to Liverpool hung around our club like a bad smell. Sir Alex’s next team talk after a Liverpool defeat was never pleasant.’
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