London: Former England defender Gary Neville feels that Manchester United must change their style of play in order to recover from a poor start to their English Premier League (EPL) campaign.
United have managed just two wins in the first four matches of the season and were shocked 1-2 by minnows Swansea City on Sunday despite dominating the lion’s share of possession.
Neville asserted that United lack the cutting edge to convert their superior possession into goals and they should not be judged as EPL title contenders this season.
“They definitely somehow need more cutting edge. You can call it the manager’s style, or individual players. Something needs to change. They dominate possession but they don’t dominate the match. You dominate the match by scoring goals and playing at a high tempo. Win the game and then control possession.
“They play controlled possession before winning the game and that’s the issue at the moment. It’s OK if you win 1-0, you look like a really good team. But if a team get a goal back and you lose 2-1, that’s a problem,” Neville was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“They play football — and have done for 12-18 months — at 1-0 and 0-0 like they’re winning 4-0.
“It’s not quick enough. They play really well, are dominating the game, have 65 per cent possession, have more shots but you have to score goals to capitalise on the football you’re playing,” he added.
“At this moment in time we’re not judging them as title contenders. We’re judging them (on moving from) fourth to third or second, because that’s the next step. But at this moment in time they’re going to stay where they are.”
United took the lead in the 47th minute when Juan Mata got on the end of Luke Shaw’s cross to fire in from close range.
But Swansea made a superb comeback in front of their home crowd at the Liberty Stadium when Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis cashed in on an off-colour performance from United goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
Neville — who is one of the assistant coaches with the England squad — asserted that United manager Luis van Gaal needs to bring in a new striker while retaining first choice custodian David de Gea who has been a target of Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The former right back, who has appeared 400 times in a Manchester United jersey, opined that Marouane Fellaini can not be classed as a centre-forward and van Gaal needs to bring a star name to Old Trafford by Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
“From Manchester United’s point of view, they have to resolve the centre-forward and the goalkeeper (situation) in the next two days. Hopefully it means they keep De Gea and they sign a striker.
“If [Javier] Hernandez leaves, they’ve got one striker. I’m not classing Fellaini as a striker. They’ve got one striker in Wayne Rooney,” the 40-year-old said.
“There were some good parts to that game defensively but there were also flare-ups defensively. The goalkeeper (position), that’s reared its ugly head today.
“They need to sort the goalkeeping situation out. That is a big problem. If De Gea leaves and they don’t get another goalkeeper in … centre-forward, goalkeeper — both ends of the pitch,” he added.
“They haven’t got enough cutting edge. They haven’t got players who can beat men in the final third, they don’t create enough. They get lulled into thinking they’re playing football really well.
“I’d be absolutely staggered if there wasn’t a striker brought in. It has to happen.”
First Published | 31 August 2015 6:11 PM