Manchester United must be 'ruthless' in January, Gary Neville tells Monday Night Football

Former Man Utd defender tells Gary Neville Podcast he was both frustrated and entertained by youngsters' contributions at Sheffield Utd; Jamie Carragher says Old Trafford chiefs must continue to keep tabs on Pochettino

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Sheffield United vs Manchester United, Premier League, 24 November 2019 2:33
Manchester United must be 'ruthless' with their January spending to help their young players reach their potential, Gary Neville tells Monday Night Football

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must be 'selfish' and spend in January to help Manchester United's youngsters reach their potential, says Gary Neville.

Neville was left frustrated by the lack of leadership shown during United's 3-3 Premier League draw at Sheffield United on Sunday, during which they fell 2-0 behind before a late resurgence almost saw them leave Bramall Lane with three points.

He blamed the performance on a lack of responsible senior players to help United's younger charges - who included Brandon Williams, Dan James, Marcus Rashford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Anthony Martial - and told Monday Night Football Solskjaer should demand funds to spend "for his own sake" come the January transfer window.

"They haven't got senior players to let them know the expectation of what's required in a football team," he said. "They haven't got the leaders and those around them that set the standard. When I first broke into the team, I had people who set the standard, let you know where to go.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Sheffield Utd's 3-3 draw with Manchester United in the Premier League

"[Juan] Mata is on the bench, [Paul] Pogba's injured, [Nemanja] Matic is looking to get away, [Ashley] Young's on the bench - the experienced players at the club are in turmoil a little bit. They haven't got futures, some of them. Others are injured. So essentially they're all out on that pitch, young together.

"There's another thing - they don't know how to approach a Premier League away game. They don't understand that it's different playing at Old Trafford than away from home. They don't have the experience or maturity. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to go and spend the club's money for himself, on two or three experienced players.

"He must demand it, he's not going to be there to see the fruits of the labour that he's putting in because there's a lot of good young players on that pitch that I enjoy watching, but unless they get the players in and around them quickly, they'll not see the standard and won't have the maturity.

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"Ole's going to have to be selfish. He's going to have to have that ruthless streak that a [Jose] Mourinho has, or a [Antonio] Conte has, and he's going to have to go and spend the club's money in the January window and put two or three experienced players in that group and they could come alive."

Youngsters 'could be something special'

Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast, Neville namechecked a number of young Manchester United players who could go on to emulate the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo's development - and urged Solskjaer not to break from his stance of giving the club's prospects a chance of flourishing in the first team.

"They've got a few players who could go on to be fantastic, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Dan James," he said. "They're at that point in their careers where there's promise, real potential, and they show you glimpses of real class.

"They've got to make that jump, I saw it years ago in players like Ronaldo and Nani develop. Wayne Rooney wasn't the finished article when he came to United. They developed into something special. They're young - they frustrated the life out of me for 70 minutes watching them against Sheffield United because I didn't think they gave enough to the team when they weren't playing well.

"I don't have a problem with them not playing well, but you have to contribute when you're not playing well. I didn't see them hassling the defenders, making runs in behind. I saw them ambling around quite a bit and feeling sorry for themselves. The body language wasn't great.

"That gives Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching staff the footage to go at that front three. There's nothing better as a coach than if you can say to young players, 'this cannot happen but look at this when you're at it and playing well', and that did happen in the last 15 minutes, they were flying.

"All you're doing all along is teaching and coaching, because they are young and you have to give them some leeway for that, but I didn't think they were anywhere near good enough in terms of their attitude for the first 70 minutes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the head coach / maanager of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Manchester United at Bramall Lane on November 24, 2019 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. 0:33
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer questioned his Manchester United team's desire in the first half of their 3-3 draw with Sheffield United

"I said at one point, if you ask Chris Wilder whether he'd rather have McGoldrick and Mousset than Rashford and Martial... but then they woke up and reminded us about the quality they've got and how you just have to persist with young players."

Carra: United must keep tabs on Pochettino

Jamie Carragher told Monday Night Football Manchester United's board "would not be doing their jobs properly" if they did not consider appointing Mauricio Pochettino - who was sacked by Tottenham last week and was initially the favourite to take the United job before Solskjaer - if their current position, some nine points outside the top four, did not improve.

He said: "There's no doubt Pochettino was the one they originally wanted and Solskjaer did so well, they had to give him the job. He should be allowed to, in January, get what he needs.

"But at the top of Manchester United, I don't think they will be doing this right now, but if they get to January - this is Manchester United, they've won one game away from home in 11 since March, and there's a guy like Pochettino who thinks he could take the club forward - they would not be doing their job properly if they weren't in contact with him.

"Let's not forget, Manchester United were the big spenders in the summer. It always seems to go back to spending more money. The money they've spent since Sir Alex Ferguson left is astronomical, and where's it got them?"

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