Gary Neville: ‘Man United have a great chance of finishing in the top four’ thanks to ‘great spirit’

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Gary Neville is convinced that Manchester United have a ‘great chance’ of finishing inside the top four this season, following their hard-fought 1-0 victory over West Ham on Sunday.

The Red Devils moved up to fifth in the Premier League standings after Marcus Rashford scored a towering header, his 100th goal for the club, to put Erik ten Hag’s side just one point behind Newcastle in fourth. 

Despite having not lived up to their expectations over the past few years, United are starting to look a shade of their former selves under Sir Alex Ferguson, and following the match, Gary Neville expressed his optimism that the Lancashire club were making progress. 

Gary Neville (pictured) believes Man United have ‘a great chance’ of finishing in the top four

Neville said Erik ten Hag (pictured) had instilled a 'great team spirit' in his forward players

Neville said Erik ten Hag (pictured) had instilled a ‘great team spirit’ in his forward players

Earlier in the season, Neville had dismissed claims that his old side could make it into the top four, but appears to have reverted on those views, impressed by what the Dutch manager has brought to the side.    

‘I think they have a great chance of finishing in the top four now. A great chance,’ Neville told Sky Sports, when asked where Man United could finish this season. 

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‘I think there is enough around Chelsea, Liverpool, and Spurs that United will feel they can push through that bunch. I never would have thought that four or five weeks ago.’

Back in August, the 47-year-old felt that their current squad depth was not quite up to scratch, saying: ‘I don’t think United with their current squad will finish fourth, but if they bring De Jong and a striker in it’s a different story.’

And he echoed that sentiment again today, suggesting that United still ‘don’t have the best front three in the league’, but instead have an excellent ‘team spirit’, instilled by Ten Hag. 

Marcus Rashford (left) scored his 100th club goal during United's 1-0 win over West Ham

Marcus Rashford (left) scored his 100th club goal during United’s 1-0 win over West Ham

The result puts Man United fifth in the Premier League standings, one point behind Newcastle

The result puts Man United fifth in the Premier League standings, one point behind Newcastle

‘Looking at United’s front players at the moment, Liverpool’s front-three, City’s front-three, Chelsea with [Raheem] Sterling and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, United have the weakest front players at this time. 

‘But they have something to be fair that is happening under Ten Hag that is giving them a great spirit.’ 

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Jamie Redknapp and Louis Saha, who were also on punditry after the match, concurred with Neville that Man United have a very good chance of finishing inside the top four.  

Saha, who scored 44 times across 124 appearances for United, agreed that it ‘was possible’ United could gain a Champions League berth this season, if they maintain their cohesion and consistency. 

Louis Saha (right) agreed that Man United could finish top four if they stay consistent

Louis Saha (right) agreed that Man United could finish top four if they stay consistent

Back in August, Neville had written-off Man United's top four hopes, but has changed his mind

Back in August, Neville had written-off Man United’s top four hopes, but has changed his mind

Saha said: ‘Football is all about consistency and when you see the foundations they are showing, yes it is possible, when you have those three or four players upfront clicking and that defensive balance it is possible. You have to maintain this approach.’ 

Redknapp, meanwhile, argued that Man United look like they could finish higher than Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp struggling with his midfield, who the Sky Pundit said looked ‘fatigued’. 

‘Everyone just imagined that Liverpool and Man City would be far in advance of everyone else,’ Redknapp said. ‘No one could see what is happening to Liverpool right now. I certainly couldn’t I thought they were bankers for first or second. 

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‘Now they have it all against them to get into the top four. Right now United look better than Liverpool. Liverpool are losing to a team at home near the bottom of the league. 

Liverpool have dropped to ninth in the Premier League standings, eight points adrift of fourth

Liverpool have dropped to ninth in the Premier League standings, eight points adrift of fourth

‘That’s not good enough. There is more questions than answers. The midfield looks tired, Mane has been a huge loss, defensively they don’t look like the same team, there are so many problems for Klopp.’

Liverpool were bested 2-1 on Saturday by Leeds and have now dropped to ninth in the Premier League standings, eight points adrift of Newcastle in fourth. 

With the World Cup fast approaching, Redknapp was skeptical of the Red’s chances of climbing back into the running for the top four.  

‘What happens after the World Cup will be key in how players will come back from that in terms of freshness, injuries, because we don’t know because we haven’t had this situation before,’ he said.

‘Liverpool have it all on to get in that top four right now, looking at it, I don’t think they do.’

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