Former Manchester United skipper Gary Neville showered criticism on the club CEO Ed Woodward for not signing any of the centre-backs Jose Mourinho wanted to sign.
Manchester United were desperate to sign a centre-back during the summer transfer window. They had their eyes set on Toby Alderweireld, Harry Maguire and later Yerry Mina. However, the asking price for both defenders was too high and United did not buy them. Manchester United’s central defence was sorely lacking against Brighton and Hove Albion and they eventually lost 3-2.
Neville said, “Jose won’t take messing off anybody. Woodward was saying why we didn’t sign these centre-backs, ‘This is why we didn’t support Jose in the transfer market’. Justifying to the media why he didn’t back his manager. Well, it’s too late for that.
You gave him a contract extension in January, so back him to the end. My view is he should stay to the very end of that contract and be backed until the end of it. Don’t get me the wrong. The club have supported Jose Mourinho and given him a lot of money. But you cannot go half-rosy. Don’t three-quarters build a house. You have to finish. They had to finish it if they wanted to give him that contract extension in January.”
Gary Neville also said that United won’t be able to win the Premier League with their present crop of defenders. He said, “With Man Utd’s back four, I don’t think they can win the league. Irrespective of the manager, Man Utd need new centre-backs. My view is Maguire and Alderweireld would have been good options. If it costs them £120m to bring them in, that is what you have to do in backing Jose Mourinho.
If Ed Woodward was going to doubt Jose Mourinho, the time to doubt him was at the point whereby he should have said he wouldn’t have given him a new contract in January. The minute he gave him a contract extension — which some say was unnecessary partway a season – and by showing him faith, he had to buy him the centre-backs.”
Gary Neville continued, “The CEO of the football club yesterday sat in his spot for two minutes after the game in what I can only describe I don’t want to see the CEO of Man Utd do. At the end of the game, stand up, go and shake the opposition’s CEO ‘s hand, tell him ‘well done.’ Tell him you will him later on in the new season. Smile. Be bigger than anything.
All I could see was a show of frustration which could also be interpreted as another show of dissent. At the moment there is definitely an angst there between the club, between Jose, who announced last week that he might as well now become the head coach. He was generally saying he will work with the players he is told to work with.
Manchester United’s next Premier League fixture is against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.