Manchester United legend Gary Neville has admitted he never would have expected this Red Devils side to be genuine Premier League title challengers this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men beat Burnley 1-0 last night thanks to Paul Pogba’s second-half winner, and are now three points clear at the top of the table as they prepare to take on rivals Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool ran away with the league last season, ending a thirty-year drought to finally be crowned champions again, and United are now also on a pretty long drought by their high standards.
The title hasn’t come home to Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, but Neville seems excited by this team that Solskjaer has put together as they now look to be serious contenders for the trophy this season.
The Sky Sports pundit admits he’s surprised by United, but has explained how he now sees signs of something very promising after a hard-fought win away to Burnley.
“It’s a big win. I think obviously with what was at stake, to go top of the league before Sunday it feels like a big moment in the sense that six to eight weeks ago you’d never think of Manchester United being anywhere near this position,” Neville said on Sky Sports, as quoted by the Metro.
“And yet now they find themselves with something building, a spirit growing. You could see with the way they were celebrating with each other that there’s a resilience which has built off some performances that haven’t been at times great away from home, but they’ve won when they haven’t been at their best and you get confidence from that.
“Now they’re starting to play better and the players they’ve got that are really top quality are starting to show that in a more consistent fashion. It’s a little more exciting and I’m really going to enjoy these next few days.”
He added: “It’s been a really difficult few years and there’s been times where it’s looked like United are a million miles away from the top of the league.
“To be top and three points clear of a really good Liverpool side in January is something that isn’t expected. If you’d said this at the start of the season to any commentator, pundit, Manchester United fan or even the Manchester United manager…
“This season it was about getting close to Liverpool and Manchester City and they’re doing that at this moment in time and that is what success was deemed to be at the start of the season so we shouldn’t change away from that.
“I don’t think anyone is saying Manchester United are going to win the league but the fact that they’re in a title race… wow, I never would have imagined it and you’ve got to give credit to the players because I’ve been critical along with a lot of other people in the last two, three, four years because the standard has been well below what the club and fans expect but they’re doing really good things at this moment in time.”