- Premier League
Neville defends Moyes by taking swipe at Chelsea & Madrid
Gary Neville believes Manchester United must give under-pressure manager David Moyes time to make his mark, even if they fail to qualify for next season's Champions League, and insists the club are not like Chelsea and Real Madrid in firing their managers after a short-term period.
After taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson last summer, Moyes, 50, has struggled to fill the gaping void left by the iconic United boss' departure. Though he signed a six-year contract at Old Trafford, there has been mounting speculation Moyes is already close to losing his job.
However, former United full-back Neville, 38, reminded critics Ferguson and other United bosses before him had been given the benefit of the club's patience in the past, and Moyes should be shown the same indulgence, even if they miss out on a top four finish.
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"It's true that the Glazer family have never been confronted with this situation before and Ed Woodward is new, but I believe that they are in tune with the club's philosophy and won't do anything hastily. David Moyes deserves as much time as his predecessors. Manchester United aren't Chelsea or Real Madrid who can fire a coach who has given them trophies," Neville told L'Equipe.
"Manchester United are different, and he must stay, and I'll repeat that if they don't qualify for the Champions League. He should have the right to a period of transition? Why not? It would be heresy to believe the opposite. We have had tough times before. I remember three seasons without being champions, and I was the first to ask whether we would win it again."
Currently in a relatively lowly seventh place, United are a worrying nine points off a Champions League qualifying place. Add to that five defeats in all competitions at the previously impregnable Old Trafford, and the club that was a dominant force in English football under Ferguson appears to be crumbling.
"There have been some positive things. David Moyes has handled the Wayne Rooney situation perfectly," Neville argued, before outlining where he thinks the current side can be improved.
"The team lacks confidence in itself. They don't play precisely enough, or quickly enough. The only way to get out of that situation is to get the best out of the players that are there and strengthen. Finding good players is not easy, but Juan Mata is already a fantastic arrival. David Moyes also has to get the measure of the media dimension to Manchester United, which is different to that at Everton.
"The Manchester United manager is like a head of state: whenever he speaks, what he says is broadcast around the world in seconds. Manchester United is a monster, and it takes time to be able to tame it. I have always thought the club would change David Moyes and not the other way round."