Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes the Red Devils are “sleepwalking” into a top-four race after their “boring” draw at Crystal Palace.
A day after rivals Manchester City made it 21 wins in a row to open up a 15-point gap at the top, the Red Devils were left frustrated in a goalless draw with the Eagles and have won only one of their last five matches in the division.
Liverpool host Chelsea on Thursday night and the two clubs will want to close the gap on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
“I thought that progress had been made in the last few weeks and that they would cement that second place by picking up three points at places like Crystal Palace and against Sheffield United and West Brom, but they are now making it really hard for themselves.
“If you were Liverpool or Chelsea watching that tonight you’d be thinking, ‘we’re in with a right chance because they look leggy’.
“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 tonight, watching that.
“They let games drift for large periods,” he added. “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.
All about performances at this stage
“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.
“There was a moment around Christmas when I thought performances were starting to come when [Edinson] Cavani had that run in the team and they were looking a bit better, but now performances are dropping back to where they were earlier in the season and they’re not getting results with them.
“They’ve got to be careful and become more alert to what’s happening. They are going to end up in a top-four race if they’re not careful.
“They were in a position a few weeks ago to have a comfortable run to the end of the season. United weren’t going to win the league. But they really could have cemented that second place and made it easy for themselves.”