Gary Neville is “concerned about all elements of recruitment” at Manchester United and worried about their focus on Dutch players, who “don’t have a great success rate” in the Premier League.
New manager Erik ten Hag came back down to earth with a bang on Sunday after a promising pre-season with United.
F365 says: Potter hit Ten Hag as Man Utd boss avoids blame despite countless warnings
They slumped to an opening day defeat to Brighton at Old Trafford and were thoroughly outplayed by Graham Potter’s side in the first half.
After the match, United legends Roy Keane and Paul Scholes pleaded with their former club to make more signings after a less than impressive display from a pair of Red Devils in particular.
And Neville agrees that Ten Hag have inherited an “unacceptable situation”, claiming it is “abuse” to stick with players who are not good enough before questioning the “reliance” on Dutch players.
Neville said Sky Sports: “They’re the easiest team to play against in the league, that’s a huge concern. Their openness is unbelievable.
“It must have been a shock to him [Ten Hag] after a promising preseason.
“But anyone who has seen the Manchester United players given him will recognize that it is a familiar performance and the people above him should have known it was an unacceptable situation to give Erik ten Hag this team.
“He needed to improve more than he has been. There is still time in the window but he needed another three or four weeks to work with them.
“Every manager comes in thinking they can do better than the last manager with the players at their disposal because they believe they are a better manager and that is likely to be the case. But the reality is that he has seen what these players are capable of today.
“These players had a good season when the fans weren’t in the stadium during Covid, but when the fans came back, the team can’t go behind in games now.
“I don’t think any Manchester United fan or pundit who has watched this team over the last 12 months, with the same players playing in the same positions, expected anything different from what we saw.
“Ten Hag will be disappointed because he saw positive signs in pre-season, but the reality has hit home.
“The coach needs time, so I won’t go to him. And there comes a time when I won’t even have a chance with the players. If you have a business and the people in that business can’t do the work for you, then you put them out of business.
“It’s an abuse to keep them at work for longer, as they don’t enjoy it either.
“The reality is that these players need to be replaced or supported more by better players.
“They knew six, eight or even 12 months ago that the squad needed investment this summer.
“Players like (Juan) Mata and (Nemanja) Matic were leaving, they knew the problems with Anthony Martial, Cristiano Ronaldo coming to the end. (Edinson) Cavani is leaving, the situation with Mason Greenwood is no longer at the club.
“These things have been known for a long time.
“I am concerned about all elements of recruitment. The reliance on buying Dutch players means that the recruitment department is not trusted as the manager goes to Holland to get players he knows.
“A market that is not always the most accurate for the Premier League: there have been good players but it does not have a great success rate. I am worried about this.
“There is a bit of desperation because the manager, an outstanding manager, has not been given the tools he needs to start the season with a revitalized squad.
“There is a feeling that if they get Frenkie de Jong it will be a window of success. It won’t be. They needed a lot more than De Jong. They might not even get him, although I hope they do because he is an important player for the “coach. There will be a bit of panic in the club, as the pressure will be great from the media, from the fans”.
As for the owners, Neville is emphatic about what needs to happen.
“The time has come for the Glazer family to sell the football club. It’s now.”
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