Gary Neville: Manchester United's Philosophy Must Not Be Compromised Again

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2019

Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar SolskjaerMarc Atkins/Getty Images

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has said the Red Devils' philosophy of attacking football must never be challenged again by any future managerial appointment after the immediate success of interim coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Old Trafford giants sacked Jose Mourinho after a disastrous run of form, with the Portuguese boss setting his team up to play a pragmatic style.

This followed underwhelming spells under former managers David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, who both strayed away from the playing values built by Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 03: Gary Neville working for Sky Sports before the Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool FC at Etihad Stadium on January 3, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Ima
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Speaking on his podcast for Sky Sports, Neville said his former club must learn the harsh lessons of the past five years:

"No one should ever be allowed to enter Manchester United's training ground or Old Trafford ever again to shape their own philosophy. That is done.

"Manchester United's philosophy is so deep and so meaningful, it's like Barcelona's and it's like Ajax's. 

"At Manchester United you play fast, attacking football in an entertaining way. You bring young players through and give them belief. And you win.

"To be honest with you, the third one sometimes goes in cycles. The winning actually comes as a result of doing the first two right. The third one doesn't always happen. Sometimes you can go years without winning trophies. You can go years without winning things and picking up titles."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 13: Tottenham Manager Mauricio Pochettino and Manchester United caretaker Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer meet each other at the beginning of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadiu
Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Neville added the opening spell under Solskjaer has proved the Red Devils must now stick to the club's former values of producing entertaining football in the first instance.

United play Brighton & Hove Albion at the Theatre of Dreams in the Premier League on Saturday, with Solskjaer attempting to win his seventh game in a row in all competitions.

Solskjaer was a player and student under Ferguson, and the Norwegian has quickly proved he knows what is expected by the fans.

Mourinho sacrificed style for results, but when the victories ran dry, his tenure quickly collapsed.

As Manchester City and Liverpool play a breathtaking form of the game, United have been stuck in an inconsistent state of flux under successive coaches.

Solskjaer has invigorated the United squad since his arrival, and David De Gea has said the team is now performing to its potential after beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at Wembley Stadium, per Sky Sports Premier League:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

"We know how to control the games, how to keep the ball, how to create chances, which is very good for us." Should Ole Gunnar Solskjær be given the job permanently? David de Gea says 'This is the real Manchester United': https://t.co/OJgdUVJy1o https://t.co/oQoOheHCHz

United's players are visibly enjoying their football again. Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are leading in unison, with important cameos from Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic in midfield.

The Red Devils must still sign a world-class centre-back. This was needed under Mourinho, but the bigger issue was the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager's reluctance to attack.

Solskjaer is unlikely to maintain his 100 per cent record in the months ahead, but supporters are delighted to have a club legend at the wheel who understands the lifeblood of their football team.  


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.