Gary Neville has said that Manchester United do not currently play well enough as a team to challenge for the Premier League title.
Despite a summer of heavy investment at Old Trafford, the club have lost successive home games, following Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham with a league defeat to Aston Villa.
Neville suggested that the club are behind their potential rivals for top spot in the Premier League and challenged manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to get his side playing as a team.
“The way they are at the moment, they’ll always have days like Saturday against Villa,” Neville said on The Gary Neville Podcast. “They’ll have patches of four or five games where they only win two, but then they’ll go and win 15 on the bounce and be unbeaten away from home for a while.
“That’s the type of team they are. I have called them the odd bunch, because I still look at them and think of them as a team who win games in moments.
“I said it even when they were winning, even when [Cristiano] Ronaldo scored, they don’t play well enough as a team to win this league in my view. They don’t play well enough as a team.
“I look at Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City, they are teams. They put team performances in. That’s not to say United never do, but Ole now has to get United into a team.”
The run of recent poor form has put increased pressure on Solskjaer despite United sitting just one point off the top of the Premier League table.
The Norwegian has considerable resources at his disposal, and is set to be boosted by the return to fitness of Marcus Rashford after the international break.
Neville thinks Manchester United will stick with the manager but says the pressure is now on to win a trophy imminently after the summer recruitment.
“I said two weeks ago that the Cristiano Ronaldo signing was make or break,” Neville explained. “That’s not me putting pressure on the players or manager, it’s a matter of fact. If you sign Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes, Ronaldo, [Raphael] Varane and [Jadon] Sancho, you’ve got to then win a trophy at some point in the next 12 to 18 months.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer consoles Bruno Fernandes after the Portuguese missed a penalty against Aston Villa
“There was a lot of ‘Ole out’ talk on Saturday. The club have done that over the last eight or 10 years. It’s not worked. They will see this project through; I don’t like calling a managerial reign ‘projects’, but they will see this through.
“They’ve had great managers, world-class managers, international managers in the building, and it’s not worked for the club or the fans. The style of play, whatever it might be. However, it does seem at this moment that the dressing room is happy. But they’ve got to start becoming a team.
“I think you have to be a unit in and out of possession, and when you only deliver in moments, those moments won’t go for you in certain games.
“You need patterns of play, you need a way of playing, and at this moment in time I still see a group of individuals playing in moments, with some patterns and combinations at times, but still a team where some are pretty new together – Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho – but they’ve got to come together as a team and start to define a style of play. Then you start to get results when you don’t play well.”