LONDON: Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville defended the club’s beleaguered coach José Mourinho on Sunday but accused those above him of having no long-term plan to restore former glories.
Defeat at West Ham United on Saturday meant United have won only three of their opening seven Premier League games in their worst start to a season since 1989-90 and now sit 10th in the table.
They are already nine points behind crosstown rivals and league champions Manchester City, who went top this weekend when Chelsea and Liverpool drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge.
By winning the Europa League and the EFL Cup in his first season, then finishing second in the Premier League last season, Mourinho improved on the unsuccessful coaching regimes of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal that followed Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
Supporters have not appreciated the more pragmatic style of football, however, and tensions have been apparent with players such as the record 89-million-pound (RM480 million) signing Paul Pogba.
Yet Neville believes the board panicked in firing Moyes after less than a year and must back Mourinho now.
“This mess started when United sacked David Moyes after 8 months and we lost all sense of the values that the club had been built on for 100 years,” he said on Twitter to his four million followers.
“It went into pinball, reactive mode and chasing it. No plan!”
“It’s not the manager it’s the lack of football leadership above him. They are bouncing all over the place with no plan!”
Neville’s former teammates Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes also expressed dismay at the current situation after the West Ham game.