Gary Neville refuses to blame Erik ten Hag for Brighton loss as he the new manager inherited a bad squad

Jadon Sancho of Manchester United
Jadon Sancho of Manchester United

Former Manchester United player Gary Neville has slammed his former club for not backing new manager Erik ten Hag in the transfer market this summer following the Red Devils’ loss at home to Brighton in their first game of the new Premier League season.

The Red Devils were beaten 2-1 by Graham Potter’s Brighton thanks to a first-half brace by Pascal Gross. They fought back in the second half to snatch a goal, but were unable to grab an equaliser as Brighton went home with a deserved three points.

Speaking after the game, Neville refused to blame the new manager and his summer signings, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez, but instead pointed the finger at the club chiefs. 

“It’s too early to judge new signings. Coming into a very difficult game and a very difficult situation,” said Neville on Sky Sports.

“I thought (Lisandro) Martinez to be fair did some really good things but could have done better with the goal. 

“He should have seen the run-off, and it’s his goal, that one. That’s his run, but the reality is it’s his first game at Old Trafford in a new team, a struggling team, so there’s no reflection on him.

“I don’t look at the manager or the new players here, Eriksen or Martinez, and think they are the problem at all. They are brand new to it. 

“The problem has got to be that the club haven’t handed the coach a better squad. It’s unacceptable at the start of the season. That could not happen and it has happened,” he added.

However, while Neville argued that The Red Devils need new players, his former teammate at Old Trafford Roy Keane says the current crop of players at the club are not giving 100%.

“The word coming home from the training ground for the last month or two is they’re (the current players) not training properly,” Keane said.

“The discipline. They are going to train on time. That comes from the group, not the coaches. You know that better than anybody. 

“They are not giving 100%. I think today was a bit of a lack of football intelligence. They are dead open and can’t seem to keep clean sheets. 

Keane also admitted he wasn’t surprised with the performance despite many expecting United to win following a strong pre-season.

“I go back to that DNA and the culture at this club. The players on the training ground it’s not there. 

“I don’t see personalities, I don’t see character. You said Harry Maguire said it was a nightmare and I respect that, well it’s up to the players to do something about it,’ he said.

“Harry the captain, after every game last season, keeps coming out saying “we are disappointed, we will regroup, we go again”, it’s leopards and spots. 

“They have got to make some changes.”

Neville agreed with Keane on his assessment of the players, insisting that fans wouldn’t have been shocked to see similar players underperforming.

“I think it would have been a shock to him (Ten Hag). 

“They had a promising pre-season but anybody who watched those Manchester United players over the last year or so will have recognised that’s a familiar performance and the people above (Ten Hag) should have known that was an unacceptable situation to hand Erik ten Hag that squad at the start of the season.

“It needed improving and obviously there is still 2 or 3 weeks to go in the transfer window, but he will need 3 or 4 weeks to work with them.

“I’m sure there is the element that every new coach comes in and they think they can do better with the players than the last coach because they believe they are a better coach.

“That’s what is probably the case with this, but the reality of it is he has seen what those players are today.”