Neville: ‘Odd bunch’ Man Utd missing ‘champion mentality’

Will Ford
Gary Neville Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd

Gary Neville explains why Manchester United remain an “odd bunch” and claims they don’t have the “mentality of a champion team”.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been touted as genuine title contenders this season but have suffered a dip in form with two points in their last three games.

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And Neville has explained why his former club are outsiders compared to Liverpool and Manchester City.

“I think it’s a disappointment over the three games – Liverpool, Sheffield United and Arsenal – the fact that there’s two points out of those three matches,” Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast.

“The Liverpool and Arsenal games they were there for the taking and I had this debate, I saw Roy (Keane) and Jamie (Redknapp)’s piece last night, why didn’t you show more belief?

“They haven’t got it yet. They haven’t got the mentality of a champion team. It’s difficult to have that from being eight weeks ago thinking the manager’s in trouble after the defeat to RB Leipzig and going out of the Champions League, to all of a sudden eight weeks later transferring that mindset to ‘we’re a champion team’.

“They’re not like Liverpool. They haven’t won the title with all those players. They’re not like Manchester City, they haven’t got titles in the bank. They haven’t got that experience to be able to draw upon.”

Neville added: “I get the bit where you would say ‘okay, you’re there, go for it, take it, it’s a strange season’, but they just haven’t got it. We didn’t think that ten weeks ago, we didn’t think it ten days ago. When we’re seeing them in games not quite going for it it’s disappointing, and I share that disappointment but it’s not surprising.

“It’s not surprising to any of us because we didn’t think they could do it, so when they don’t do it, let’s not be shocked.

“It’s just disappointing that they’re not quite there yet, but I accept it that they’re not quite there. I wanted at the start of the season as a Manchester United fan for them to get close to Liverpool and City. If you could say to me in another two to three months they’d be sat between Liverpool and City I’d be absolutely delighted, because that is big progression.”

Asked why United have been unable to maintain their form, Neville responded: “They’ve been masses of points off them in the last two or three years, they’ve been nowhere near.

“When I called them an odd bunch, they’re an odd bunch because they don’t put really good performances together over long periods of matches. They can play for ten minutes and then they go away for 15 minutes and the game drifts along, and then they go one down and they come back.

“It’s just odd. You see patterns of teams develop but there are very few patterns with Manchester United and maybe that’s because they do rotate more. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to rotate four or five times in midweek and then changes again at the weekend, and maybe that consistency just isn’t quite there.”