- Manchester United must start well or they could be finished in title race warns Gary Neville09:07 | 12/07/2013
Moyes’ men have tough early fixtures and history shows falling behind a Mourinho-managed Chelsea can spell curtains.
New Manchester United manager David Moyes has been warned by club legend Gary Neville not to let Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea steal an early march in the title race.
United defender turned Sky Sports pundit Neville claims Mourinho won the Premier League in his first two seasons at Chelsea in 2005 and 2006 because Man United could not match their flying starts.
With champions United facing not only Mourinho’s Blues but Liverpool and Manchester City in a tough opening to their first campaign under Moyes, Neville says it is critical they do not let the west Londoners open up an early lead now the Special One has returned to Stamford Bridge.
“Where we lost out to Mourinho teams at United in those early years was because we left ourselves too much to do,” said Neville.
“We weren’t slow starters, but we weren’t at our peak form from September to December.
“When we did get into our stride in January, February and March, the problem in the Mourinho years was we were too far behind to mount a challenge.
“So the critical thing this year will be to make sure that, at the turn of the year, you’re in contention. Make sure you don’t fall back too far behind.
“You wouldn’t want to fall too far behind a Mourinho team because they would have the nerve inside the club to withstand the pressure.
“Likewise with United – you wouldn’t want to give that group of United players a lead, you really wouldn’t.
“At the start of this season, particularly where clubs have difficult starts, it’s critical clubs don’t fall too far behind the pack thinking they can make it up later in the season.”
As Sky Sports and BT announced their live TV matches for the first four months of the season, Neville added that the title battle should be fascinating because last term’s top three clubs – United, Chelsea and Manchester City – have all changed managers.
“Everyone will be looking at Manchester United because Manchester City and Chelsea have changed their managers regularly in the last four, five, six, seven years,” said the Sky Sports pundit. “It’s not something that’s new for them.
“But you look at David Moyes at Manchester United. He’s an experienced manager, who’s earned this opportunity and he’s got a fantastic group of players who know how to win.
“I suppose with Manchester City, not as many people are talking about them at this point of the season, which I think is dangerous because they under-performed last year.
“You think about the likes of Sergio Aguero and David Silva and if they hit top form, and Manuel Pellegrini signs a couple more players, they will be really strong.
“Everyone’s looking at Mourinho, everyone’s looking at Moyes and City and Pellegrini are probably sat there thinking, ‘We’re okay at this moment. We’re out of the limelight.’”
Below the title race, Neville claims Liverpool and Tottenham’s Champions League hopes hinge on hanging on to Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale respectively.
“You have to say if Liverpool lost Luis Suarez, it would be a huge blow,” he said. “It’s important for Liverpool to keep him to send out the message that they want to get back into the Champions League places.
“It also goes without saying if Tottenham lost Bale, that would be a massive blow. But it looks at the moment, there are no noises coming out to suggest he is wanting to leave or that Tottenham are willing to sell.
“I think this year could be tougher for Tottenham to get into the top four because Arsenal will improve greatly from where they were last year.
“I think you will see Arsenal sign two or three players so Tottenham will have to do the same to compete.”
According to Mirror
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