Ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby, Gary Neville acknowledged that Manchester United are “not playing well,” but he insisted he is still “hopeful.” For their first encounter of the season, Erik ten Hag’s team welcomes their local rivals to Old Trafford, and the matchup comes at a time when neither team is particularly playing at their best. Of the nine league games this season, United have already lost four, and City have lost twice. They were separated by six points going into the game
Neville was pressed for comment on how he feels about his former side’s chances and could do little more than admit United look well below their best currently. He did, however, make clear that he still would not write off the Red Devils just yet.
Speaking to sky sports he United legend explained: “I went to the Copenhagen game on Tuesday night, I mean United were really poor first half, they were better in the second. They were poor last week, you know the form’s not there – they are not playing well.
“So we are just reliant on talking about, you know it’s a derby, they’ll be up for it, I would always say for United on Sunday that if they are in the game with 20 minutes to go they’ve got a real chance just because of the crowd and the way in which the feeling will be in the stadium – that happened last season when they were 1-0 down and won 2-1.
“There’s no way United are going to come out on Sunday and blitz City in football terms because they’ve not been at that level, but City are just a bit below par as well so it will be interesting to see.
“United can bring the best out of City with the football that they play and last season was a surprise – we’ll see what happens. I’m more hopeful than expectant.”
In the build-up to the contest, Ten Hag has been brutally honest regarding some of United’s struggles this season. The Dutchman has called on his attackers to be more ruthless in front of goal.
For context, Erling Haaland s 11 goals across all competitions is the same amount as United’s entire squad have managed in the league so far this term. Ten Hag has claimed his players are not capitalising on periods of dominance and chances.