Former Man City and Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy believes that Man Utd are still well off being able to compete with their Premier League rivals who continue to set the standard.
City finished top of the pile last season, with United down in sixth place and a staggering 32 points adrift of their rivals. It’s a similar scenario this year as while Liverpool are top with nine games remaining, the Red Devils are in fifth spot and 37 points off the pace set by the Merseyside giants.
In turn, despite all the positivity that was being built prior to the suspension of the campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic due to their good run of form, the standings suggest that there is still some way to go before Man Utd are back being considered as a genuine contender for the title.
That said, the standard and pace set by the likes of Liverpool and City over the past two years has been exceptional, and it remains to be seen if that can be sustained moving forward. In turn, while they could drop their level slightly, if United can continue to make improvements, they’ll be hopeful that they can bridge the gap sooner rather than later.
However, as per his comments below, Bellamy is convinced that they are still miles off from being in contention.
“Coronavirus hit, and it seemed to be quite a good time at Manchester United, everyone is talking about Manchester United, but they are nowhere near these two clubs. Nowhere near. And it’s going to take a good three or four years to get near,” he told Sky Sports.
“The balance [City and Liverpool] have in the team, the way they play, the intensity they play at, the pressing and understanding of what they’re doing, takes them well ahead. These two teams are a big gap ahead of anyone else.”
It’s difficult to disagree with the former Premier League star given the points made above, but just as Liverpool have clicked into place under Jurgen Klopp, United will be hoping to follow a similar path under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer especially if he continues to be backed with crucial signings.
Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Bruno Fernandes have all been quality additions to the squad, but in fairness to Bellamy, perhaps more is needed still at Old Trafford if they wish to make up ground over a shorter space of time. as results would suggest that they can’t keep up the pace as things stand.
Having a fully-fit squad would surely help though, with Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, two crucial pieces of the starting XI, missing for a large part of the campaign.