Manchester’s squad had a notable absentee ahead of Sunday’s game against the Magpies.
30-year-old Christian Eriksen was not available to play due to illness, and the Danish playmaker’s absence was plain to see.
United lacked teeth in the final third, squandering the few chances that fell their way.
They were equally starved for creativity in the middle of the park.
The Theatre of Dreams was left notably uninspired.
‘Eriksen didn’t play, and it looked like they missed him,’ Neville said.
‘When he doesn’t play, you maybe realise how big a player he is cos he connects and glues the team together.’
Gary Neville confirmed that another United legend echoed the same sentiments about the missing Dane.
‘He’s got that pass through the lines very quickly. He sees things; he looks over his shoulder. He’s scanning all the time.
It’s Paul Scholes that told me that, by the way.’
‘I just felt the balance was wrong. It wasn’t quite the same fluidity without him in the team.’
While United have had a decent run of form since an underwhelming start to the season, they still sit outside the top four, having widened the gap between them and 4th place Chelsea.
The Red Devils host Tottenham on Wednesday, and with continued doubts about Eriksen’s fitness, they hope they can find the spark they need to find the back of the net.
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