Gary Neville Says Manchester United's Poor Form Can Help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2019

Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer  arrives to give a press conference at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 15, 2019 on the eve of the Champions League second leg quarter-final football match between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville thinks the recent run of poor form of the club's will help keep expectations in check for new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

Solskjaer was appointed by the Red Devils on a full-time basis recently after excelling in the role following the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December. However, in recent weeks, the team has struggled to play at their best, leaving United in a big fight for a top-four finish in the Premier League and for a spot in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Speaking on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, Neville said the challenging spell of results proves how much work there is to do at United this summer:

"It's been a big struggle since the PSG game, and in some ways I'm happy, because I think if United had carried on as they were towards the end of the season, I think it would have conned and fooled everybody into thinking it was okay. ...

"They've started to perform at times like earlier in the season, games are harder to win. And what it does is it just sobers everyone up a little bit. A month ago it was 'the players were fantastic, they're better than they were, and Jose just couldn't get the best out of them.'"

Neville added that United's comeback win over Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round of the Champions League was "one of the best nights I've ever had as a United fan." He noted Solskjaer will also be learning more about his players during the current run than when things were going well for the team.

Here's more of what Neville had to say on the recent run of results:

Initially, everything went right for Solskjaer, as the players appeared to have a weight lifted from their shoulders and relished the freedom they were operating with.

Even so, some underlying issues have returned as of late. In defence, the Red Devils are lacking an authoritative presence, while in midfield Solskjaer has struggled to find a balance, which has in turn had a negative knock-on effect on the form of Paul Pogba.

Regardless of how they finish the campaign, United were always likely to spend a big amount in the summer. Aside from in defence and midfield, James Robson of the Evening Standard thinks reinforcements are needed up top too:

Football journalist Daniel Harris thinks the difficult run recently doesn't reflect badly on Solskjaer:

United's season can yet be a prosperous one. On Tuesday, they will need to produce a big performance, as they travel to Barcelona for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final, having lost the first leg 1-0 on home soil.

Given how low United were following Mourinho's departure in December, it's remarkable they are even in the conversation when it comes to the top four or a possible Champions League win. It's why Solskjaer deserves patience during any future difficult runs and financial support at the end of the season.

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