Manchester United’s inconsistency and recent record in the transfer market has Gary Neville baffled, with the Red Devils legend admitting: “I do not know where it ends”.
Jose Mourinho has overseen a testing opening to the 2018-19 campaign for all concerned at Old Trafford, with a frustrating summer recruitment window having set the tone for what has followed.
Reports of divides in the camp, unsettled players, possible changes in the dugout and disappointing results at home and abroad have seen uncomfortable questions asked of leading figures.
Neville concedes that it is difficult to see a way out for United as things stand, with there little cause for encouragement as the club seeks to fight fires on and off the pitch.
The former Red Devils defender told Sky Sports: “Chelsea on Saturday was encouraging, but the problem with United at the moment is the inconsistency, you just do not know what you are going to get.
“Jose Mourinho's career has been built on reliability and consistency and he is getting anything but that at the moment and I do not know where it ends. Even from half to half you are not sure what you are going to get.”
Part of the problem for United is that key men are failing to deliver, with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba struggling to hit the standards expected of them.
Neville added: “There are a number of different factors [why the team is not performing].
“I can see where the players are lacking in confidence. You look at someone like Romelu Lukaku - at the World Cup he looked absolutely incredible and then you look at him at United in the last few weeks and he just looks a little bit down. He does not have the same mobility and energy in his body language and that can only be confidence, and that happens in players' careers and happened to all of us.”
Mourinho has suggested that United will need to invest heavily from this point in order to rejoin the European elite, having seen his side given a Champions League masterclass by Juventus in their most recent outing, but Neville believes the Portuguese and his board need to reflect on dealings they have already done before splashing even more cash in an inflated market.
He said: “After the game against Juventus, his comments - some would say they were honest as when I saw the two team sheets before the game, I thought they were two completely different worlds in terms of players.
“But it is not just money, a lot of money has been spent on that United team. The reality is the recruitment has been poor for four or five years. There has been no consistency, strategy behind the recruitment. You have three or four different managers and different styles of managers' players in the same squad, where the club should always sign players that fit their profile. And then if the manager leaves, you will always have players who believe in the club system.
“And at the moment, I do not see that, you have a collection of different players from different managers who believe in different things and Jose is trying to work them into a unit and he is finding it very difficult.”