Does Gary Neville avoid criticising Manchester United? I don’t think so…

When Jose Mourinho was appointed Manchester United manager, his behaviour was worrying amongst the supporters and it was the media who warned us about several issues regarding him. After months in charge, the media somehow feel they were actually right in what they stated. Mourinho has faced a few charges from the FA and the results aren’t helping the cause at all with United not doing well in the Premier League at the moment. It has become a sort of courtesy that game after game the media will discuss what’s happening around United, inventing stories and discussing false news reports, just to sell newspapers and attract readers to their various websites.

This time, however, United are not the centre of the critics but one of the clubs former players, Gary Neville is. Well-known for his controversial but intelligent football analysis, Neville is facing off criticism from the Mirror’s Brian Reade for being soft on his former team and their manager Jose Mourinho. Reade opens the discussion with how difficult it is for a former player to criticise their former club and how that is actually affecting Neville’s statements on United’s 1-1 draw last weekend against Everton and he seems to ‘understand’ that. The writer suggests that Neville is being soft with the Portuguese as he keeps protecting Mourinho’s latest decision-making.

Surely, this comes after showing a few statistics in another article that things are not going well as expected for Mourinho, noting that both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal started their Manchester United careers better than Mourinho and justifying that the Portuguese was not a pleasant thing for many, including the media of course. Gary Neville is clearly harsh on others just like he is on United but with his latest statements he seems to have ‘changed’. Well, what did bring this controversy?

On Nissan Super Sunday on Sky Sports the former United defender discussed Manchester United’s latest draw saying:

“It got to 85 minutes and you knew it was a big moment. It’s not a one off, it’s getting to the stage where you are saying is that what they are, because they have done it so many times.”

Then he took on Jose Mourinho, saying:

“Jose Mourinho will be losing faith in the sense they are playing quite well – although they didn’t play brilliantly today – but not seeing it out. You have to see it out. That’s the disappointment. It’s a repeat of what has happened in the last few weeks. In the last 20 minutes it was set up perfectly for a counter attack and to make it 2-0, but they didn’t have the quality and precision to get out quickly with the first pass out of defence.”

Of course, the main event would be Marouane Fellaini, because he let the team down with that late challenge inside the area that won Everton a penalty that was converted into a goal, causing United to drop two points once again in the Premier League. Here the former England international entered in full mode being the critic as always and Fellaini was his ‘victim’. Neville said:

“It [his introduction] was purely to deal with the long balls into the box. You can see the sense in it but when he goes on and does such an idiotic thing like that…  It was really poor from an experienced international. It’s no reflection on the manager. He’s made the substitution for the right reasons and he has been let down by his player.”

That’s the point that they miss when it’s Gary Neville is discussed. United were winning until Fellaini came on and Neville did accept that United were not playing really well but they were getting those three points. What’s more annoying about the way Neville is being treated is the fact that the United fans were used to prove a point, that Neville is wrong. A terrible, unstudied, idiotic challenge made but it has to be Jose’s fault for that as well. The manager does what he thinks is the best for the team and in that moment, the choice he made was justified as the Belgian’s characteristics would help the team defensively but he failed to do that once again.

United’s draw was also taken into consideration with Neville blaming Europa League. Mourinho has stated many times that the fixtures aren’t helping the team since they’re playing on Thursday and Sunday not being given a Monday night game and it really seems understandable that the reaction has to be this way. For many, it seems like United are finding another excuse for their latest results and with Gary Neville on their side, something must be wrong and the best way to do this is to question Neville’s abilities, for the media at least.

Clearly, a call in Valencia won’t make them understand that just because his comments don’t go in the same line with their ideas, doesn’t mean that it’s not true. The media will always hit on United and nothing will change this and even if it feels nice to be the centre of attention, sometimes it must be said that enough is enough.

Written by Fabiola Cejku


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