Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick has claimed that Gary Neville is being too careful by playing down the club’s Premier League title chances at this early stage of the season. The Red Devils made a strong start to the new campaign with three wins and a draw before Tuesday evening’s defeat at the hands of Young Boys in the Champions League.
United finished as Premier League runners-up last time around but look set to battle Manchester City and Chelsea for this season’s top honour over the coming weeks and months.
They oversaw a fruitful summer transfer window in which Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo all joined the club on permanent deals.
The latter has enjoyed a flying start to life back at Old Trafford, scoring three times in his two appearances since rejoining from Juventus on deadline day.
Neville waxed lyrical over the five-time Ballon d’Or winner earlier this week on Monday Night Football, but suggested that his arrival will not be enough to lead United to domestic glory this season.
“He does make the team better,” said Neville. “I think he makes them more likely to win the title than I thought three weeks ago.
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“Something inside me tells me that I don’t think he will quite make them the team that will win the title this season.”
Chadwick has since refuted his former team-mate’s assessment by insisting that United are in good shape to compete with the Premier League’s very best.
The former United, Norwich City and MK Dons playmaker told Caught Offside that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s impact as manager should not go unnoticed, while stressing that Ronaldo’s arrival could be the icing on the cake in this season’s battle for supremacy.
“I do think now that Ole is putting the foundations in place,” said Chadwick.
“Last year the club found themselves in a good position around Christmas without playing particularly well.
“I can understand Gary’s cautiousness, being a huge Manchester United man himself and desperate to see the club do well.
“He’s playing it down a little bit. You do believe that Ole needs to win something this year, some sort of silverware.
“Even before Cristiano came in, it was probably as high expectations we’ve had as fans. Sancho, Varane, the missing pieces of the jigsaw, still talk of a central midfielder to finish it off but then Cristiano comes in.
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“In my opinion it’s as good a chance we’ve had of winning it for many a year. I can understand why Gary is cautious about it, but it does seem to be that the gods are smiling down.”
Solskjaer is yet to win a major trophy with United since replacing Jose Mourinho as the club’s manager back in 2018.
He led the Red Devils to last season’s Europa League final, which ultimately ended with Villarreal being crowned champions after a tense penalty shoot-out.
United also missed out on the Premier League title by 12 points, with City running away at the top of the order after mounting a remarkable mid-season surge.