Gary Neville on Jose Mourinho’s future and naive Man Utd board


Manchester United have lost control and need resetting to overcome the multitude of issues engulfing the club, according to Gary Neville.

Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Anfield confirmed United’s worst-ever start to a Premier League season and left them 19 points behind leaders Liverpool after just 17 games.

Neville was joined in the Super Sunday studio by former United captain Roy Keane, Jamie Carragher and Graeme Souness, and all were in consensus that manager Jose Mourinho’s days at United were numbered.

But Neville believes the issues run much deeper than Mourinho and stem from a naive board ill-equipped to oversee the footballing side of the club’s operations.

“Will Mourinho leave? I think it will happen, my preference would always be to get to the end of the season,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“But the boardroom is so naive it’s unbelievable, to give him an extended contract knowing the cycle of Mourinho and his three years. The third year is always the difficult year for him.

“So 18 months in, with United second in the league having won two trophies in his first season, that was the point where the board had to hold their nerve and keep him hungry in that third season. The minute he came back from pre-season he was at it, and the club lost control.

“There isn’t that experience or knowledge of the club above him to be able to manage, control and handle him. His agent was out last week, he goes into press conferences and you don’t know what he’s going to say next and they don’t know what to do with him.

“They are paying the price now. The problem they will have now is that it will cost an absolute fortune to lose him and, when you lose a manager midway through a season, there’s the situation of who is going to come in.

“What do they want for the next three or four years at the club? Because it’s not as easy as saying get rid of the manager. Manchester United need to reset. It’s not just the manager, it’s deeper than that.

“There is an incredible level of naivety and they lost control of the club when they gave him a new contract, they should never have done that. The minute he came out in that pre-season press conference the club should have gripped him and said, ‘we’re Manchester United, one more of those and…’ They’ve got to get a grip of their club.

“But having made the decision to give him a contract they should have made the decision to back him and give him the centre-backs he wanted, instead they pulled the plug on him and withdrew.

“You can’t always get what you want as a manager but it was obvious that Manchester United needed new centre-backs, and when you say that you publicly want new centre-backs and don’t get them, how does that make the current centre-backs feel?

“United fans don’t want to go to games, they are not looking forward to matches. That’s not just now, that was under David Moyes and it was the manager’s fault, under Louis van Gaal and it was the manager’s fault and now under Mourinho and it’s the manager’s fault.

“Three good managers that have good records – one of them the best in the last 20 years alongside Pep Guardiola – and that’s why you have to say something is broken.

“I’m sure Manchester United will change the manager at the end of the season at the latest, we’re all pretty certain of that.

“But there’s a multitude of issues, it’s more complex than the manager getting the best out of the players or not being backed. It’s a deep problem, it needs resetting, the whole club needs resetting.

“Five years ago, two huge figures [Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill] left that football club, two figures that had great knowledge of the game.

“What happened was the financial and commercial people, that are fantastic at their jobs, were put in charge of the football side of things and they are not competent enough to do it. They have to now hand it over to people that are good enough to run the football side of the club.”

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