Football

Gary Neville claims Manchester United’s attempts to copy Man City blueprint is backfiring

The huge gap between Man City and Man United has once again been very clear and former United ace Gary Neville believes there has to be a huge change at Old Trafford

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes the Reds have tried and failed to mimic some of Manchester City ’s key tactics in recent seasons.

Ralf Rangnick’s side came into their crucial home clash against Leicester City 22 points behind Pep Guardiola’s side and four points away from the Champions League places. While United have been trophyless since their Europa League and League Cup triumphs in 2017, City have won four Premier Leagues, four League Cups, and the FA Cup.

United’s current league position and City’s continued brilliance could also see them fall even further behind the reigning Premier League champions. And Neville believes the Reds need to abandon the current methods they have followed recently if they are to have any hope of making up ground on their fierce rivals.

“You see Manchester City play with De Bruyne or Foden in that false nine position, and I think Manchester United feel as though they can do that with Bruno (Fernandes),” Neville said to Sky Sports News. “But for me, Bruno is not that type of player, he is more of a passer and not a runner.

“You saw it away at Man City that it did not work, but today we will see how it goes. Elanga and Sancho are going to have to play as split strikers almost and make those runs in between the centre-backs.”

Fernandes and United midfielder were deployed as United’s main attacking threat in their 4-1 away defeat against Manchester City, while Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga provided the width. After a good first half which saw Sancho curl home a wonderful equaliser, United were taken a part in the second half by the Citizens.

However, United’s troubles do not end in their recent utilisation of Fernandes and Pogba as so called ‘false nines’. United captain Harry Maguire was booed when his name was announced before England’s recent 3-0 home victory against Ivory Coast in the international break.

The £80m defender’s performances have come under huge criticism at United, with many calling for him to be dropped by United and the Three Lions. However, Neville believes the recent events could add even more motivation and incentive for him to rediscover his best form.

“We have seen another Man United player being booed this week in Harry Maguire by England fans,” Neville added. “It will be interesting to see how the Manchester United fans react to Maguire today.

“For Maguire, it could be a good thing that he was booed by England fans. Normally that galvanises United fans in to responding and sticking up for their player. Look, he has not had a good season, I think he needs the season to end, but sometimes it happens like that when you are a player.

“We have got nine games to go now and he has just got to try and get through it. I think he will look back on this in many years time and believe it was one of his best learning experiences.”

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