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Manchester derby Gary Neville uses one word to sum up Manchester United's lofty Premier League position


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guradiola will meet in the Manchester derby (PA)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guradiola will meet in the Manchester derby (PA)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guradiola will meet in the Manchester derby (PA)

Manchester United are in a 'miraculous' position in the Premier League after their lacklustre start to the season, according to their former defender Gary Neville.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under pressure once again after his side crashed out of the Champions League after a defeat against RB Leipzig on Tuesday, with Saturday's Manchester derby now a key game in the club's season.

Victory could put United within touching distance of the teams at the top of the table, but another defeat could spark more rumours linking Mauricio Pochettino with Solskjaer's job.

"Man Utd miraculously find themselves in the position they are despite performances that were well below par," Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast.

"My concern over the long term is you need consistency of performances that knit together in a form of identity building and I can't quite see what they are yet.

"They can't play without Bruno Fernandes - I don't know what it is. He is a very, very good player, but you would think that (Donny) Van de Beek, (Paul) Pogba and (Scott) McTominay in midfield, with (Mason) Greenwood, (Edinson) Cavani and (Anthony) Martial would be able to do so much better than that.

"I think the Man Utd players will be sitting there thinking if we could start playing like we could, then even we may have a chance daftly enough as that sounds.

"I do not think they will win the league, but that is what this season is doing to us because the top two have set a bar that I've never seen before, none of us have ever seen before in the last couple of seasons, and now we are seeing something that is more normal."

While United do not look likely to get in the mix for the title, Neville suggests Liverpool's dominance of the teams trying to knock them off their perch as champions has been leaked this season after injuries to key defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

"I've said before that I think Liverpool win this league at a canter if Virgil van Dijk was fit, no one can get near them," he added. "I still think they win this league, but there are just some little things that are going against them that have not gone against them in the last couple of years.

"The same with Manchester City and that makes it interesting and there are just a couple of teams, Chelsea at the moment, Tottenham that are just looking at them and thinking: 'They are not right and we are OK here, we are just starting to hit form and spirit and we are getting closer to them'."

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Online Editors