Gary Neville believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be given “a few weeks” to get Manchester United’s season back on track but has admitted it could get “really messy”.
United were outclassed by local rivals Manchester City on Saturday in a 2-0 defeat that Neville described as a “mauling”.
City controlled the game from start to finish, while United showed little ambition to compete with the visitors and were punished accordingly.
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The defeat leaves United nine points adrift of league leaders Chelsea, and extends their winless home run to four league matches.
Pressure is mounting on Solskjaer to turn things around, with expectations sky-high following a blockbuster summer of recruitment. United splashed big money on Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho and were later able to acquire Cristiano Ronaldo, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Solskjaer, though, has struggled to assemble a functional side, and many fans are calling for his head. Neville thinks he will be given time.
“Everyone thought in the summer that they got the recruitment right, with the signings of Varane, Sancho and the late signing of Ronaldo,” the Sky Sports pundit said after the City game.
“The club have not planned for this. I know there are some United fans who think that maybe the club should have acted two weeks ago because Conte was available.
“This club were never going to appoint Antonio Conte. It was never going to happen, they would never have considered it.
“They are not prepared for this moment because they’ve got the plan behind Ole, they’ve got the staff behind him. I don’t think there’s any chance they’ll make a decision this season unless it gets so bad.
“And it’s getting to that point where it is getting so bad. They’re 11 points off the top of the league if Chelsea beat Burnley later this afternoon and this Manchester United squad can’t be 11 points off the top of the league 11 games in.
“Nobody’s expected this. Nobody’s expected that Manchester United would sink so low at this point in the season.
“I think he [Ole] has got a few weeks to sort it out, I think he’s got a few weeks to get a winning run going but after the international break, it’s Watford away, Villarreal away and Chelsea away.
“They’re three tough games and it could get really messy.”