Home » Gary Neville insists Manchester United’s main issues lie in the dressing room

Gary Neville insists Manchester United’s main issues lie in the dressing room

by Scott Eckersley

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has gone on the offensive in the wake of his former side’s tame capitulation to Leicester City at the weekend.

As covered by The Daily Mirror, the Sky Sports pundit has insisted that Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s biggest challenge will be to control the dressing room egos he believes are undermining the side’s progress.

He said: “The aura of Ronaldo, Fernandes is walking around with his arms out all the time, Pogba doesn’t know if he is staying or leaving, the emerging captain Maguire thinking how he controls this lot.

“Ole has to solve it this week. On Sunday, this lot are an odd bunch, they could out and do Liverpool. They have to get that spirit and dynamic right.

He continued: “I thought that last season there was something building. I think if you asked him privately ‘would like last season’s squad back?’ I think he probably would go back.

“They have got six grenades where the pins have been pulled out in the dressing room.

“It can work, I’ve seen Del Bosque manage a Real Madrid team to the Champions League, Zidane has done it with great players, I think PSG are like that at the moment. You see Pochettino there and you think it’s not really a Pochettino team.

“Ole’s got a bit of that now. He has Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba and Harry Maguire.

“Massive characters in the dressing room, Maguire will look at Varane in the dressing room and think am I the top dog anymore?

“You have the dynamic of Cavani sat on the bench who was begged to stay but now has Ronaldo, Rashford and Greenwood in front of him.

“Sancho has come in for £75m and now he is looking like he is in and out. All these issues are developing, Solskjaer has to somehow bring that group together.”

Aside from issues in the dressing room, Neville also called on the Norwegian to go back-to-basics in an attempt to correct the side’s current downward trajectory.

“He’s got to find a basic defensive shape that the players buy into and allow the others to go win the games for him. It’s the only way for him to get the season back on track.”

Also in The Daily Mirror, Neville continued his no-holds-barred assessment by accusing the current side of acting like “babies” when they concede a goal.

He said” “This Manchester United team are also really poor at reacting to goals, if they concede a goal they are a little bit like babies and they all start doing their own thing.

“If they score a goal, they all puff their chests out and think here we go and the egos come out.

“After half-time there was a massive change. Manchester United’s performance in attack was consistent throughout the whole game, however, their defence in the second half had a big change.

“At half-time they’ve gone in and either Solskjaer has said get higher up the pitch and press them, get against that back three, or the players have gone rogue and decided themselves.

“Manchester United from 50 minutes in were ‘baggy’, there were spaces everywhere. There was no intensity, they were walking around the pitch, particularly the front players, they think they are better than they are.

“When I watch Liverpool and Manchester City the players sprint. United were so open and disconnected, a pattern began to emerge where the front of the team was disconnected from the back.

“The front five, the egos, the world class players (were disconnected) from the back five. United ended up with a non-compact unit which Leicester found easy to play against.

“So you have individual errors, you have Maguire struggling and you then have a disconnected team.”

There really is no hiding place right now for Solskjaer and his under-fire team. A season that promised so much already seems to have stumbled into premature crisis mode.

With games against the likes of Atalanta, Liverpool, Spurs, and City on the horizon, there’s perhaps a sense that fans are witnessing a career-defining period in his time at the club.

If results – and performances – don’t quickly improve, it will get even harder for him to withstand the pressures being exerted from every direction.

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