Phil Neville believes that Manchester United need to prioritise winning the Premier League above anything else this season.
Man United supporters haven’t seen their side even mount a meaningful title challenge since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as a Premier League champion back in 2013, finishing seventh, fourth, fifth and then sixth in subsequent campaigns.
But United’s superb start to the 2017/18 campaign, hallmarked by six wins from their first seven games, has convinced many that Jose Mourinho’s men could compete for the main prize this time around.
And Neville believes that, following four seasons of failure, United ought to pour every resource into winning a first Premier League title without Ferguson.
“For Manchester United, the Premier League at this moment is bigger than winning the Champions League,” he said.
“Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired it has become a noose around the club’s neck, they can’t win the Premier League without him and it’s another year gone.
“When I obviously broke into the team it was 26 years (since they won the league) and they don’t want it to keep building and building and have that gap.
“I think for Jose the start of the building block was the trophies (the EFL Cup and the Europa League) last year, but the actual foundation is the Premier League and United I think will want to win the Premier League more than the Champions League.”
Ah, yes, the Premier League title – a prize that was once United’s favourite toy but now feels more like trying to cross the DMZ. I have told myself for some time that, after so many years of success, perhaps the club now has to face a barren spell as part of some wider balancing act as instigated by the footballing gods.
On a more serious note, this is without doubt the best squad supporters have seen for a number of years – perhaps even before Sir Alex retired. There is depth, hunger, power, pace, versatility and serious confidence percolating this current side and their place in the Premier League table doesn’t flatter them whatsoever.
And yet, we can only really know how equipped United are for a title challenge when they play sides that finished above them last season, with the first test coming at Anfield next week.