Neville: ‘Repetitive cycle’ proves Jose was right about Man Utd
Gary Neville says he was wrong to dismiss Jose Mourinho’s “biggest achievement” assertion when he left Manchester United, now admitting his former team are stuck in a “repetitive cycle.”
United were embarrassed on Sunday, as Mourinho inflicted a 6-1 defeat on his former side, the biggest loss at Old Trafford in the Premier League era.
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Mourinho won the Europa League and League Cup in his first season as United boss and led them to second in his second campaign.
The Portuguese boss claimed finishing as runners up to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City was one of his “biggest achievements” in management.
“If I tell you, for example, that I consider one of the best jobs of my career was to finish second with Man United in the Premier League, you will say, ‘this guy is crazy,’” Mourinho said.
“He won 25 titles and he is saying that a second position was one of his best achievements?’”
“I keep saying this because people don’t know what is going on behind the scenes. And sometimes we, in this side of the cameras, analyse things with a different perspective.”
Neville, at the time, claimed Mourinho was “playing games” to cover his own back, but has now finally changed his tune.
“I think for me it’s almost a repetitive cycle we’ve seen,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“We saw it with Louis van Gaal where he got to a cup final he won, then they pulled out on him when he was building half a squad. Decent team, not great, but decent, he was half on his way to getting sort of a team that was building some confidence.
“With Jose Mourinho they went half roads and then they backed out on him in that transfer window a couple of seasons ago having given him a contract. He wanted that extra support to go and do it.
“I do think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did achieve the maximum with them last season by finishing third. There’s no way he was getting to the level of Liverpool and Manchester City. So I do think he’s achieved the maximum with them.
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“I thought Jose was playing a game a few years ago when he said it was an unbelievable achievement to finish second with that squad. But I think on reflection he’s probably right.
“I think it was good Manchester United finished third last season but they needed, they were on the shoulder of Manchester City, a long way off the shoulder but on the shoulder, and they needed to make sure they got closer.
“But City have spent £150 million, Liverpool have gone and got Diogo Jota and Thiago and they’ve strengthened and they’ve pulled away psychologically before the season even starts.
“And it’s the psychological damage of Manchester United not bringing the players in that I also think is hampering the players’ thoughts because we as the media focus on it, we as former players focus on it, why wouldn’t we?
“The club’s job is to build a title-winning team here. Manchester United have to win the title and we can’t drop those standards.”