Paul Scholes believes Manchester United do not have what it takes to mount a serious title challenge this season.
Jose Mourinho’s men racked up the club’s best points total since 2013 last season, claiming 81 points and finishing second in the table, but nonetheless finished 19 points behind Manchester City.
Their fallow and turbulent transfer window, coupled with Man City and Liverpool both strengthening over the summer, has led to many writing off Man United’s title chances under Mourinho.
And Scholes has made it clear that he does not expect his former club to have enough quality to improve from last season.
“When you look at Manchester City, possibly Liverpool, I don’t think they [United] have the quality of those two teams at the minute,” he said. “Liverpool have made some really good signings. United finished above them last season.”
“I just don’t see United getting closer to City. City are a really good side, great manager, some great players, a way of playing that they all know about and Manchester United seem to be not too sure what’s going on.
“You don’t really know the team, you don’t really know the players, you don’t know how they’re going to perform from one week to the next. So I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see them challenging for the league this year.”
United feel closer to descending into oblivion than rising to scalp the major trophies this season. That Mourinho will be sacked before the season is over is a notion many subscribe to; that Mourinho can deliver a Premier League title is a claim most believe to be fantasy.
But perhaps this isn’t the worst thing. Every season since the post-Ferguson era has been preceded by a sense of hope and ambition from supporters, convinced the new signings made would take their team to the next level, only to find themselves bitterly disappointed. We have been in something of a cycle.
Perhaps the club’s current condition, which feels ominous rather than hopeful, will engender something different to what we have seen over thep