The former defender believes the positive progress made in 2020-21 has started to grind to a halt, with creativity and urgency now in short supply
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been warned that he cannot allow his Manchester United side to head down the same “boring” path that Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal once took, with Gary Neville accusing the Red Devils of “sleepwalking” their way through games.
Positive progress has been made at Old Trafford in 2020-21, with an ambitious outfit working their way back into contention for major honours and a lofty finish in the Premier League.
A spark has been missing in recent outings, though, as three successive 0-0 draws have been played out and two wins taken from the club’s last eight games across all competitions.
What has been said?
Neville fears United are in danger of slipping into reverse and replicating the bad habits of previous coaching regimes, with the Red Devils legend telling Sky Sports on the back of a goalless stalemate at Crystal Palace: “Manchester United have got to find something from somewhere.
“There was no urgency at the end of the game. You expected United to be throwing everything at it. You expected maybe some of the young lads to come on and do something to try and win the game, take a chance, take a risk, but there was almost a fear that maybe Crystal Palace would go and counter-attack.
“It wasn’t a good night for United. You can’t have too many performances like that.
“I always said in the past when Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho were the manager, you can win, you can lose, you can draw, but you can’t be boring and that was boring, watching that.
“They let games drift for large periods. That’s happened in the big games where there’s been that lack of urgency and belief but now it’s starting to come against the teams at the bottom of the league.
“They are sleepwalking in games. They are thinking that they are okay, they will get a goal, because many times this season they have played badly in first halves of matches and then gone and won the second half. But now it’s not happening for them.
“You’ve got to have performances. You will get results sometimes when you play badly, but eventually it will catch you out. You need performances.”
Who scored Manchester United’s last goal?
Solskjaer has seen his side fail to find the target through meetings with Real Sociedad, Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
Bruno Fernandes was the last man to hit the back of the net, with the Portuguese playmaker converting a 75th-minute penalty in a 3-1 victory over Newcastle on February 21.
United have now endured a 285-minute barren run in the final third.
The bigger picture
United are 14 points adrift of arch-rivals Manchester City despite occupying second spot in the Premier League table.
They are only one clear of Leicester and six in front of fourth-placed West Ham, with a top four-chasing pack bunching up behind David Moyes’ men in what looks like being a thrilling race towards the finishing post.