Gary Neville has dissected Manchester United's 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday and while praising Roy Hodgson's side, the Sky Sports pundit also has some strong words regarding his former club's recent transfer policy.
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While United kicked off their season with a deserved defeat to Palace, Neville lays the blame for the surprise loss squarely at the feet of those who are responsible for bringing new players to the club this summer.
Man Utd have got to see the danger signs here - they could end up in fourth or fifth again if they are not careful
Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast, the one-time United captain warned his former side unless a number of new signings are made before the transfer window closes on October 5, they could face missing out on a top-four finish this season.
No excuses, Palace by far the better team
United looked like a team who were well short of fitness and football, players missing, not got the players in who they wanted, short in confidence in some areas. Issues off the pitch in the last few weeks which might have distracted them and Crystal Palace exploited every single weakness Man Utd had.
But make no mistake about it, the shape of Palace, the way in which they interpreted the 4-4-2, they did not go back to a back six, like so many teams do - they really kept the four together narrow, which mean the wide players - Schlupp and Townsend - were able to counterattack. The front two worked really well together and sprung off that United midfield McTominay and Pogba who were sat deep.
It was a really well put together performance, they even got to the point where they were starting to show confidence on the ball, it was not just counterattacking and defending, they started to show possession and a little bit of arrogance.
They toyed with United and they more than deserved the win and there was the debacle over the second Palace goal, the penalty - I thought it was a nonsense, I really did - but the fact they got the third goal took away the element of, 'Oh, Man Utd were hard done to.'
There were no excuses, Palace were by far the better team and if they can maintain that level of commitment and keep the players fit, they could have a really good season. They look like they could win a lot of football matches this season.
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Negligent not having a squad in place
Because of what has happened in the last eight years, people have lost their confidence and they have now tried to go the other way in terms of, 'we can't now overpay'.
You see Liverpool getting a player for £40m, £25m, you see other clubs do it, Werner is quite cheap compared to some of the prices of players you see in the market and United always seem to have to pay top dollar and the people at the club will not like that, almost as though they are easy pickings. And there is a suggestion of that.
The problem is, they have to find a way to get deals done and they can't get deals done efficiently. And it is negligence not to get the squad in place, they have had six months since March when lockdown was on being able to deliberate, do zoom calls, connect with agents, move things into place.
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There is no excuse really for not getting your transfers done before the start of the season. They need four or five players, so to only get one done… I know Liverpool have only got theirs done in the last couple of days, but there is a feeling they are in control.
United have got the money - if they can spend £90m-100m on Sancho, they have got the money to do the deals. They have not got the quality or experience of football people within that club, it looks like a convoluted and complex structure, I'm not quite sure where the decisions lie.
Liverpool are definite, they are precise. Look at Chelsea, they are definite and precise, Man City are, but Man Utd do not seem able to get their business done. And that unfortunately has been a massive problem, whether it be signing the wrong player…. I think the recruitment has been better and more precise in the last 18 months.
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United have no authority in the market
But there is still that issue of not being able to get the players over the line quickly enough, in the building, with the squad, to get that team ready for the start of the season. And then you end up with that on Saturday and what that does is make them weaker, because now clubs who they are wanting players off will be looking it and thinking, 'we will relax because they are going to come and knock on my door, they are going to have to'.
And that is the problem Man Utd have got - they have not got the authority and control in the transfer market. The people who are hearing these words and seeing them, they will not like it. But they have got to hear it, because they are not doing their jobs. The football players on the pitch did not do their jobs, the manager is going to get accused of not doing his job.
The people in the stands whose job is to put that team on the pitch, build a football team that can win the league and the people in the stand who have been at Man Utd for eight years now have not had the ability to build a football team that can win the league. And that is a problem, that is your job - to build a football team to win the league and they have not been able to do it. And they have to find a way of doing it quickly as these years are going to drag on.
Business needs doing in the next few weeks
You have seen Liverpool, we are going to see Man City on Monday night, we have seen Chelsea, not quite at their best, but they are investing and they have young players coming through. Man Utd have got to see the danger signs here - they could end up in fourth or fifth again if they are not careful and last season was a step forward.
That should have been the moment, Covid coming, economic uncertainty, United step up and drive the market forward, deal with the players, make a stand, get the squad in place and send a message to Man City and Liverpool that we are coming for you and now they are on the back foot and they have to do their business in the next couple of weeks.