Premier League English

‘United are just a touch further ahead’ – Gary Neville believes Tuchel has big job to do

SkySports pundit and former United player Gary Neville believes Manchester United are currently a little ahead of Chelsea in their development, suggesting that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have made real progress this season.

Although still quite a large gap behind Manchester City who look on course to claim the title, Neville suggests Solskjaer has taken his side forward in his second full season as the club’s manager.

United and Chelsea hacked out a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and when asked which club – the Red Devils or the Blues – were closer to mounting a title challenge, Neville was prompt with his reply on his Sky Sports podcast.

“I think United are nearer, I think Chelsea got some work to do on the defence; I think that there’s some maturity in their players in attack – Havertz, Werner, Pulisic, Ziyech – I think there are outstanding talents there, but they’ve all got to merge.

“I think Rashford is probably a little bit further ahead in his development; there’s also Cavani Pogba, Fernandes, so I’d say United are just a touch further ahead, and they are in the league anyway, they’re six points in front. So that’s suggested by the league table.

“But it won’t take much from Chelsea’s point of view to get there, it’s whoever recruits better in the summer, which players develop more, and which managers can get the best out of the players. But I’d say that for United this season to finish second would be a huge advance on last season.

“For Chelsea to get into the top four under Tuchel I think would be very good. And then they’ve both got to try and win another trophy if they can.”

While cup success in the final weeks of the campaign is still vital to Solskjaer’s hopes of getting a contract extension, the former United legend suggests they are ahead of Chelsea in proving their trophy-winning potential.

“Over the last 12 months, Manchester United have put an incredible run of results together. The points tally has been big, year to year,” he added.

“Their away form is outstanding and that that takes some resilience, to go 20 games unbeaten away from home. It takes some.

“I come back to my time at Manchester United, if I came to Stamford Bridge, and we kept a clean sheet and we came away with a point. We quite often lost to Chelsea at Old Trafford, let alone at Stamford Bridge, we had a poor record against them. You always want to win every single game – but this is a tough place to play.

“To go 20 games away from home needs applauding because it’s hard to do that. What do you use to demonstrate teams that have got good character and personality? They’re good away from home, they’re good on set pieces, they look like they want to play with each other.”