Gary Neville believes Manchester United would be as good as Barcelona if they had a match-winner like Gareth Bale or Neymar in their team.
United are only a point off the top of the Premier League following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leicester City, but Louis van Gaal’s side continue to face criticism over their style of play.
The Red Devils had 69% possession at the King Power Stadium yet managed only two shots on target, a problem which has occurred on several occasions this season.
Neville believes they are in need of a match-winner to make their dominance of the ball really pay.
“If you put two more players into Manchester United’s team, say a Gareth Bale or a Cristiano Ronaldo into that team, that team could win the league,” he told the Gary Neville Podcast.
“Tthe structure that is being built at this moment in time is solid. But they need that match-winner, that Neymar, that Luis Suarez, the one that is going to light up a game and score one or two goals to take it away, then all of a sudden they would look like a Barcelona, because they’re dominating possession, making teams look foolish.”
Man Utd too cautious
Neville believes United were too cautious in their approach during the latter stages of Saturday’s game but says it was nearly the “perfect away performance”.
“Even in the last 15 minutes, they didn’t fully commit to winning the game,” Neville said. “Historically, you would like to see punch after punch, you would want to see bodies being thrown forward, but you might get caught on the counter attack and lose 2-1 that way.
“But that’s not the way in which this Manchester United team play, and the heart wants them to go forward, commit players and be reckless in some ways.
“I do think they are quite close when I think about it with my head, but my heart thinks I’d like to see them die trying a little bit more and go for it.
“But he’s a year-and-a-half in, Louis van Gaal, and he should get a lot more time to do what he wants to do. I was in the same opinion when David Moyes was at Manchester United, and I’m in the same opinion now.
“I’m torn with Manchester United. The heart, the fan [in me] is listening to the noise.
“The head is saying: ‘There’s a lot of very good things, if you can dominate every single game, with 60, 65 per cent possession, if you can keep the clean sheets and have the best defensive record in the league.’
“Depay has a chance with five minutes to go, and it’s very nearly the perfect away performance.
“When you don’t win, people will say it is boring, it’s not expansive enough, and that’s why I’m a little torn in this moment in time.
“Where they are at this moment in time is a fantastic achievement. Results are important, the style of play might not be everyone’s cup of tea, however I do think they are one or two players away from being a team who could easily win the league.”