Gary Neville has warned Manchester United that they should not accept a lack of effort from attacking stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes.
Many questions are being asked of Man Utd at present after their loss to Leicester City on Saturday. Pressure has risen on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as a result, although it seems the club will stick with him. However, with a tricky run of games coming up, he has plenty of issues to fix.
United have enough top-quality players to challenge for the title this season. However, if results do not pick up, they face extending their trophy drought. That would be below expectations, so the whole group must work to get back on track.
Two players who have come into question for ex-defender Neville are two of the biggest stars in the side. The Sky Sports pundit has pointed out something he has seen from them that he does not like.
Neville said on Monday Night Football: “I’ve had my issues with Paul Pogba in midfield. I’ve had my issues with Paul Pogba generally and his agent over the last two years. Honestly, it’s like having a windscreen where you’ve got six cracks in it and you have to change it anyway, but you think the crack that is Paul Pogba is the one you should focus on.
“I don’t think this is a Paul Pogba problem. The reason I say that is that on Saturday I watched Ronaldo and Fernandes up front, nothing. I saw them flailing their arms a few times at a couple of their team-mates which I didn’t like. That needs to stop!
“I saw wide players with no intensity in their pressing. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can’t go back to [Scott] McTominay and Fred and he can’t go back to [Nemanja] Matic and Fred because the reality is we know what that delivers. It won’t deliver Manchester United success and Solskjaer has brought all these talented players in.
“Pep Guardiola plays with David Silva, [Kevin] De Bruyne, [Leroy] Sane, [Sergio] Aguero and [Raheem] Sterling which is five attacking players. What Solskjaer needs to somehow try and prove is that he as a top manager and his development as a coach this season can get top players to work as hard as the other top players in the league.
“It’s not just Paul Pogba. They are not organised which is a problem for the coach and the coach needs to deal with that, but they also need to put a shift in.
“I played with really great players and I’m watching great players in this league, the likes of City and Liverpool, fantastic teams, as good as I’ve seen in the history of the Premier League and they work like dogs.
“They work like non-league central midfield players and forwards and they’re the best players in the world.
“Players like [Mohamed] Salah, [Sadio] Mane, De Bruyne and [Phil] Foden, all these great players, they’re unbelievable. So why is it we accept from Manchester United in the front part of the pitch that these players won’t work as hard as them?
“I can’t accept that and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got to go and get the best from those players because if he doesn’t, he’s going to have a massive problem at the end of this season.”
Pundits spotting Ronaldo, Fernandes issues
Neville is not the first to make such comments about the balance of Man Utd in relation to their two Portuguese flair players.
Another ex-Premier League player recently agreed that some players are not working hard enough for the cause.
Pogba, Fernandes and Ronaldo all came into the discussion of a problem which may have inadvertently increased since the latter’s return.
Ronaldo remains one of the best players in the world – and indeed history – but there was an element of panic about his return.
Man Utd did not want to see him end up across Manchester with their rivals Man City. Thus, they acted late to strike a deal.
But now some consequences are starting to surface and another pundit thinks United need to copy Thomas Tuchel’s approach at Chelsea to fix it…