Belfast Telegraph

Neville buoyant over United chances

Gary Neville sees no reason for Manchester United to approach the new campaign with pessimism.

As doubts persist over the planned initial public offering, intended to raise much-needed funds for the Glazer family to reduce their debts, which many feel are to blame for a relative lack of transfer activity in recent years, once again Sir Alex Ferguson may find it difficult to compete in the market place - and there is little wonder why many fans are adopting a negative stance.

But Neville said: "The club will always have to respond to critics and negativity when they don't win trophies. You just have to accept it, get on with it and respond. I am sure they will. They always have before. There is nothing to suggest this time is any different."

Eden Hazard has already rejected overtures to join Chelsea and United know if it comes down to a straight fight between them and Manchester City for Arsenal's wantaway forward Robin van Persie, the Blues have deeper pockets.

With Darren Fletcher's future uncertain, midfield resources look painfully thin, even with the arrivals of Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell.

But even with a 22,000-mile pre-season to navigate before their attempt to regain the Premier League from Manchester City starts with a trip to Everton on August 20, Neville feels negative opinions are unwarranted.

Speaking at the launch of his Sustainability in Sport project, the former United defender is adamant his old club will bounce back.

"When you don't win the championship at United that is always treated as a mini disaster - and I am talking internally, not externally," said Neville. "The players and manager will be devastated. That is not exclusive to last year, it is every year we never won one.

"But when you think about it, last season was a great achievement. The main go-to players, (Nemanja) Vidic and Fletcher, weren't there almost all year, yet it still went down to virtually the final kick of the ball."

And Neville believes it is the influence of United's own father figure that will ensure his club remain at the forefront of the battle for honours. "It is like your parents or a school teacher. His influences cannot help but rub off on you; your principles and how you live your life, how you want to be. The drive, determination and never-say-die attitude. If it doesn't rub off you won't be at the club any more."


From Belfast Telegraph