Manchester United legend explains what Red Devils’ next stage of development must be



Manchester United struggle to see off West Ham

Manchester United faced off with West Ham on Sunday evening.

The tie marked a huge one in the race for a Champions League place. Man United were aware that a victory would all-but guarantee their top-4 status.

As for West Ham, a victory at Old Trafford would have seen them move up to 4th in the English top-flight.

But, when all was said and done, a fairly uneventful 90 minutes eventually saw Man United come away with a 1-0 win, after Craig Dawson headed a Bruno Fernandes corner into his own net:

Gary Neville explains what Man United’s next stage of development needs to be

Whilst United, in the end, got the job done, though, Sunday’s clash again highlighted one of the club’s main issues under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Red Devils are superb on the counter, and can pick big teams apart whilst playing on the back foot.

However, when a team – like West Ham did on Sunday – sit deep and invite United to break them down, they struggle a fair bit.

In turn, speaking after the Old Trafford clash, Gary Neville voiced the opinion that his former side’s next stage of development must be to improve against sides who sit in deep blocks:

“We know what Manchester United are: they do struggle to break down teams, if you think about how City dismantle teams who sit deep against them, United aren’t capable of that yet and it has been something we can quite obviously see, when they play on the counterattack, they’re a lot better.

“They’ve got to get better playing against teams who really sit back in those deep blocks. I think that’s where the next stage of the development has got to come, because if they don’t start doing that better, they won’t win this Premier League because teams will do that against them as Man City have found out.

Neville continued:

“It’s about having higher quality in the final third. If you think about the compact nature of all teams now when they want to be, particularly the teams in the bottom half, you just need fantastic players. If you look at City – Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, Foden, Mahrez – they have five or six of them. I can only really think of Fernandes and Pogba who can open a defence up in tight situations, the rest of them rely upon space to operate.”

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City FC 30 43 71
2 Manchester United FC 29 24 57
3 Leicester City FC 29 21 56
4 Chelsea FC 29 19 51
5 West Ham United FC 28 10 48
6 Everton FC 28 3 46
7 Tottenham Hotspur FC 28 17 45
8 Liverpool FC 28 11 43
9 Aston Villa FC 27 11 41
10 Arsenal FC 28 8 41
11 Crystal Palace FC 29 -16 37
12 Leeds United 28 -3 36
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 28 -9 35
14 Southampton FC 29 -15 33
15 Burnley FC 29 -15 33
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 28 -7 29
17 Newcastle United FC 28 -17 28
18 Fulham FC 29 -14 26
19 West Bromwich Albion 29 -37 18
20 Sheffield United FC 29 -34 14
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 17
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 16
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 16
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 14
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 13
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 12
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 12
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 10
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 10
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 10
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 9
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 9
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City FC 9
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 9
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 9
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 9
Maddison, James Leicester City FC 8
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 8
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 8