Craig Bellamy: Man Utd still several years from getting near Liverpool and Man City
"Everyone is talking about Manchester United, but they are nowhere near these two clubs. Nowhere near."
Last Updated: 06/05/20 3:13pm
Craig Bellamy insists Manchester United are still three or four years away from getting near his former clubs Liverpool and Manchester City.
Before coronavirus halted football, United had gone 11 games unbeaten, including a 2-0 win over rivals City at Old Trafford. However, they sat fifth in the table, 12 points behind City and 37 points behind leaders Liverpool.
Bellamy, who played for both Liverpool (2006/07 and 2011/12) and City (2009-2011), insists that while there is heightened talk about United improving under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, they still have a long way to go to touch the top two.
Bellamy told Sky Sports: "Coronavirus hit, and it seemed to be quite a good time at Manchester United, everyone is talking about Manchester United, but they are nowhere near these two clubs. Nowhere near. And it's going to take a good three or four years to get near.
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"The balance [City and Liverpool] have in the team, the way they play, the intensity they play at, the pressing and understanding of what they're doing, takes them well ahead. These two teams are a big gap ahead of anyone else."
Graphic courtesy of Statsbomb
Bellamy played nearly 300 times in the Premier League for seven clubs, scoring 81 goals. Asked by Jamie Caragher whether he would rather play under Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola, the Welshman said he would be more suited to City's style of wing play.
"With Jurgen Klopp's side, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane roll inside, they get their width, they still attack with five and defend with five, but I think the structure of Manchester City being wide and staying wide, dealing with one v ones, would probably suit me better.
"Players being in their position, understanding their roles, understanding where the pockets are. That would probably suit me better because I don't believe I am as intelligent as the likes of Mane and Salah to go from out to in. I like creating that width and creating one v ones out wide."
Geoff Shreeves put an even tougher question to Bellamy, asking him which player from the Liverpool and City front three he identifies with most.
"I feel this is a massive disservice to either of the front threes, they are miles ahead of me! Raheem Sterling is incredible, miles better player than myself, but when he goes over to the left, I'd say that's a little more similar to the type of role that would suit myself.
"The one player I think Manchester City has missed so much is Leroy Sane. Just for the balance of the team, not just his pace, but don't underestimate his pressing, how good he is at that. He's been a big, big miss this season."