Manchester United “were obviously not trying for Jose Mourinho”, says Gary Neville, with it difficult to see how a side that can “switch on and off like a tap” can challenge for the Premier League title.
Having finished as runners-up behind Manchester City in 2017-18, the Red Devils were expected to push themselves into contention for the top-flight crown this season.
They were, however, to endure a disastrous opening under Mourinho, with a humbling tumble down the table leading to their Portuguese coach being relieved of his duties.
Interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to salvage their campaign, having overseen seven successive victories in all competitions, and has United back to within three points of the top four.
Neville, though, doubts that the current group of players – given the attitude they have displayed to date – are capable of forcing their way back into the frame for major honours.
The former Red Devils defender told Virgin Radio: “I think when he [Solskjaer] came in, the club couldn’t have been any lower in terms of expectation, there was a bad feeling around the club.
“He’s done an incredible job, he’s put himself in the frame and he keeps on winning. I think it’s the best start for any Manchester United manager in the history of the club. It’s unbelievable really.
“The Manchester United players at the end were obviously not trying for Mourinho as they just switched the tap on and off. The difference is incredible but I must admit I have my doubts about those group of players.
“It’s that they can just switch on and off like a tap, it doesn’t fill me with confidence that they can take Manchester United back to the title but what they are doing at least is performing to their capabilities.”
United’s return to form under Solskjaer has been aided by the likes of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford.
Both men saw questions asked of their contribution and future under Mourinho, but have excelled since being freed from the shackles of a former boss.
They are now looking to secure a return to Champions League competition for 2019-20, while a heavyweight FA Cup fourth-round clash with Arsenal is next on the agenda – with a trip to Emirates Stadium set to be made on Friday.