Gary Neville pointed out how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is steering clear of falling out with the board over their failure to adequately back him in the transfer market after Manchester United were thrashed by Tottenham.
United had secured only one signing going into deadline day and, although they are set to announce deals for Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani on Monday, the club looks almost certain to fail to land Solskjaer’s No.1 target Jadon Sancho, whom they have chased all summer.
Just over two years ago Jose Mourinho wanted the club to prioritise a centre-back addition but he was not backed in that regard, after the club had signed Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof in successive previous summers.
That set the tone for a dismal start to the 2018-19 campaign and Solskjaer was waiting in the wings to take over when Mourinho was jettisoned the week before Christmas.
“The club didn’t back him, and Jose decided to take the board on. Ole’s not doing that, he’s playing it by the book. Will it help him? Let’s see.”
Neville also accused United of repeating the same mistakes in the transfer market, having not implemented a proper recruitment strategy under any of their managers post-Sir Alex Ferguson.
He said: “I think for me, it’s almost a repetitive cycle that we’ve seen. With Louis van Gaal, he got to a cup final that he won, then they pulled out on him when he was building half a squad. Decent team, not great, but decent, he was half on his way to getting a team that was building some confidence.
“With Jose Mourinho, they backed out of him in that transfer window a couple of seasons ago after giving him a contract, and he wanted that extra support to go and do it.
“I feel as if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did achieve the maximum with these players by finishing third. There was no way he was going to get to Liverpool or City.”
He added: “I thought Jose was playing a game when he said it was an unbelievable achievement to finish second with that squad, but I think he was right.
“It was good last season to finish third. They were on the shoulder of Liverpool and City, a long way off the shoulder, but they were on the shoulder and they needed to make sure they’d get closer.
“City spent £150m, Liverpool have gone and got Jota and Thiago, they strengthened and pulled away psychologically before the season even started.
“It’s the psychological damage of United not bringing the players in that is also hampering the current players’ thoughts.
“We as a media, we focus on it, why wouldn’t we? The club’s job is to bring a title-winning team here. Manchester United have to win a title and they can’t drop those standards.”