Gary Neville has talked up Manchester United’s title chances and insisted this group of players will believe they can have a ‘special’ season after moving top of the Premier League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men showed the spirit of champions to edge out Burnley at Turf Moor with Paul Pogba scoring a second-half winner to send United three points clear of Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s crucial clash.
Neville admitted he never expected United to be in this position but insisted they are in a title race after beating Burnley on Tuesday night.
It’s a big win with what is at stake before Sunday,’ Neville told Sky Sports. ‘It feels like a big moment in the sense that six to eight weeks ago you would never have thought that United would be anywhere near this position but now they find themselves with something building,a spirit growing, you can see the way they are celebrating with each other.
‘There’s a resilience that’s been built off some performances that haven’t been at times great away from home but they’ve won when they haven’t been at their best and you get confidence from that and now they’re starting to play better, and the players that they’ve got that really are top quality are starting to show those moments in more consistent fashion and it’s a little bit more exciting. I’m really going to enjoy these next few days, I really am.
‘We know how quickly this league can turn around. It was Chelsea a few weeks ago, City were having a bad time and now they’re coming to the fore, Liverpool look strong and United looked dead seven or eight weeks ago but now it’s turning around for different teams at different moments and it could easily turn the other way in three of four weeks time but like I said it’s not going to stop United fans getting carried away because why shouldn’t they?
‘It’s been a really difficult few years and there’s been times when Manchester United have looked a million miles away from the top of the league so to be top and three points clear of a really good Liverpool side in January isn’t something that was expected.’
The former United man has been heavily critical of the club’s performances in recent years but credited the players and Solskjaer for transforming themselves into title contenders.
Sky Sports pundit Neville now has faith his old club have the players to compete for the title and believes all the pressure will be on Liverpool in the build-up to Sunday’s showdown as they wouldn’t have ever seen United as a threat.
He added: ‘I don’t think anybody is saying Manchester United are going to win the league but they are in a title race, wow. I never would have imagined it and you have got to give credit to the players because I have been critical along with a lot of other people in the last year or two, three or four years because they had dropped way below the standards of this club but they are doing really good things at this moment in time.
‘As I sit here tonight, I think why shouldn’t Manchester United fans believe? Why shouldn’t this team believe? You look at that frontline of Cavani, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Greenwood and you look at the midfield four and you look at Fernandes who wasn’t at his best tonight but then Pogba steps up and is fantastic.
‘They’ve got some fantastic players and other teams aren’t in great moments. I think we saw last week that when City are at their best, Manchester United are still a little bit below but in the next few days it’s time to have a little fun.
‘I don’t think it will be a comfortable few days for Liverpool in the sense that I don’t think they would’ve expected Manchester United to be anywhere near them or seen them as a competitor or a threat this season which is why I think this week can be a little bit of fun for Manchester United fans but I also believe these players feel they can have a really special season because it’s odd, it’s changing every week and you don’t know what’s going to happen and United can exploit that.’