Manchester United’s defence is not good enough to win the Premier League title and Jose Mourinho is suffering because of a lack of investment in the squad during the summer, according to former Old Trafford captain Gary Neville.
United slumped to a 3-2 defeat at Brighton on Sunday with centre-backs Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof drawing particular criticism for their performances.
Mourinho wanted another central defender during the transfer window and Neville believes his former club are paying the price for not strengthening at the back.
“Forget everything else, that back four is not good enough to win a Premier League title,” he told Sky Sports.
“Let’s start and finish with that. That back four looks like it will always cause problems and always concede goals. It doesn’t have authority and that is a problem.
“[Mourinho] is in his third season and I think he will feel extremely disappointed that he wasn’t supported in the transfer market.
“You can’t leave a house three-quarters built. You have to finish it and complete the build. “”He needs further investment. It’s obvious that he does and the club should support him in that because you can’t withdraw part way through a process. They have to go for it.”
Mourinho said on numerous occasions during the summer that his team could find this season “difficult” — a warning that looks like it will be proved right judging by the hopeless display at the AMEX.
It came just hours after Manchester City, champions last season by a record 19 points, had walloped Huddersfield 6-1 and Neville is concerned United are already looking over their shoulders just two games into the new campaign.
“It will get better and Manchester United will get stronger and won’t be easy to play against,” added the former England defender.
“I do think they will finish in the top four, but the top four historically has never been the benchmark of what Manchester United are.
“They have always judged themselves by Premier League titles. At this moment in time, that looks unlikely.
“Obviously it is still early in the season, but it does look unlikely that Manchester United are anywhere near good enough, as we sit here today.”