Gary Neville believes Manchester United are ‘sleepwalking’ into a fight to qualify for the Champions League places.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men looked well off the pace as they recorded a third straight goalless draw across all competitions at Crystal Palace, spurning the chance to increase their one-point lead over third-place Leicester, who were held to a 1-1 draw at Burnley earlier on Wednesday.
United now sit 14 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City ahead of Sunday’s derby at the Etihad Stadium.
Gary Neville says Manchester United are ‘sleepwalking’ into a fight to qualify for the top four
United drew a third consecutive game 0-0 at Selhurst Park in a lethargic showing on the road
And Neville fears defeat against their city rivals will see them dragged into a race to play in Europe’s premier club competition next season due to their ‘lethargic’ display at Selhurst Park.
‘Manchester United have been worse in this second half than the first,’ Neville said while on commentary for Sky Sports at Selhurst Park. ‘Going to the Etihad on Sunday they have put themselves under pressure.
‘I just getting the feeling watching United that they are sleepwalking into a top four race when it could be so much more comfortable for them. They have dropped so many points in these last few weeks.
‘They are so lethargic, there is no urgency, I am expecting them to throw the kitchen sink at it. It is almost like they think it is OK to draw this game, that they don’t see the danger of doing so. If they lose at Etihad and results go against them there will be teams all in and around them.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men missed the chance to extend their lead over Leicester in third
‘There is not a lot of fight out there, they just look like they want the game to end. They have been sleepwalking through this game. Poor, really poor.’
United’s second successive 0-0 Premier League draw means they are sat seven and eight points above Chelsea and Liverpool, who currently sit in fifth and sixth respectively ahead of their meeting on Thursday.
But Neville believes German bosses Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp will take encouragement from United’s ‘leggy’ display, and repeated his former side cannot afford to be boring in the run-in.
Speaking after the game, Neville added: ‘We know fans aren’t in stadium and we know there’s been a lot of football, but they did really look lethargic tonight and well off it.
Neville admitted that he is now fearful they could be dragged into the race for the top four
‘The body language just looked really drained. I thought progress in the last few weeks had been made and it gave me a sense that they would cement that second place by picking up three points at places like Crystal Palace and against Sheffield United and West Brom.
‘But they are now making it really hard for themselves. If you are Liverpool and Chelsea watching that tonight you are thinking “we are in with a right chance because they looked leggy”.
‘Manchester United have got to find something from somewhere. There was no sort of urgency at the end of the game. You expect United to be throwing everything at it, but not even some of the young lads who came on tried to do something and take a risk and win the game.
‘But maybe there was a fear that Crystal Palace would go on counter-attacks. It was not a good night, and you cannot have too many performances like that.
‘I have said in the past when Louis van Gaal was the manager or Jose Mourinho was the manager, you can win, you can lose, you can draw, but you cannot be boring, and that was boring tonight watching that.’
Neville believes Liverpool and Chelsea will have gained belief from United’s leggy display