'Man Utd would have been better off with Fellaini up front!' - Neville believes Solskjaer's squad has gone backwards

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 2019-20
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A toothless performance saw United slip to a deserved 1-0 defeat against Newcastle, and Neville believes their squad depth is simply not good enough

Gary Neville thinks Manchester United would have fared better with Marouane Fellaini up front in their dismal 1-0 defeat at Newcastle on Sunday evening.

United’s increasingly familiar toothlessness on the road was exposed once again as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side laboured to a performance with few real highlights.

Harry Maguire should have scored with a header from the corner in the first half, and that was largely as good as things got for United. His total of four touches in the opposition penalty area was more than any other United player managed.

"Away from home, they’re not set up to win in a sense of the mentality,” Neville told Sky Sports . “They let games drift, I think they play OK in games, but they’re not ruthless, they’re not clinical.

"The quality is not right, the depth of their squad is not good enough and they have taken a step back. He would have been better off today with Fellaini up front, or [Romelu] Lukaku or [Alexis] Sanchez – there’s no doubt.”

Fellaini, Sanchez and Lukaku were much maligned by fans during their respective spells at United, but their former side were left sorely lacking in options from the bench in the north east.

Neither the experience of Sanchez nor the physical presence of Lukaku or Fellaini were to be found as Solskjaer’s summer transfer decisions were again made to look short-sighted.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 2019-20

With Anthony Martial out of contention and Marcus Rashford struggling, it was left to teenage substitutes Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood to make an impact, a task neither player managed to rise to.

"They’ve ended the game there with six young players on the pitch,” Neville added, “so they would be better with those players [Fellaini, Lukaku or Sanchez] on the pitch.

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“But Ole made a decision that those players aren’t going to get the club where they need to be in the long term."

United legend Andy Cole had spoken before the game of Rashford’s need to take his game to the next level in terms of goalscoring , but the England forward was conspicuous by his apparent absence in a game where he failed to make an impact.

But with Greenwood – who celebrated his 18th birthday only this month – the only other striker available to Solskjaer, it seems the goalscoring burden will continue to weigh predominantly on Rashford’s shoulders after the upcoming international break.