- Premier League
Scholes: City and Chelsea too much for United
Paul Scholes has written off Louis van Gaal's hopes of winning the Premier League title in his first year as Manchester United manager - and believes Manchester City and Chelsea will be "too much" for his former side.
United legend Scholes backed Van Gaal to revive United's fortunes after their seventh-place finish last May, but he cannot see the Dutchman winning the title back straight away.
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"I think the title is between City and Chelsea, they've both made decent signings. The next two places are between United, Liverpool and Arsenal," Scholes said.
"I just worry that City and Chelsea have a bit too much for them. United will be looking for a better season than last season, and that shouldn't be too difficult. It was a big blip last year, disappointing.
"The first six games look favourable and if they can be near or top of the league at the end of those six then take it from there, but you have to remember the players they've lost. Rio [Ferdinand], [Nemanja] Vidic, [Patrice] Evra, [Ryan] Giggs. Massive players who have won 30 titles between them."
Scholes backed United's defensive options to grasp their chance under Van Gaal, but believes the Dutchman will be disappointed with the club's lack of transfer activity following the early arrivals of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw.
Former midfielder Scholes says United need to bolster in the centre of the park and is surprised that moves for several transfer targets, including the likes of Arturo Vidal and Toni Kroos, have not materialised.
"I'm sure he [Van Gaal] would have liked to have signed more players," Scholes said. "He's not managed to do that yet. Are the players out there available? The areas they need, in midfield, is an area where I thought they might have bought a couple of players.
"Toni Kroos goes [from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid] for £20 million and Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea. I thought they would have been in for those type of players, but it doesn't look like they were. If they were, they chose to go elsewhere.
"It's not because United are not in the Champions League. People still want to play for Manchester United. It's huge.
"I still think the players they have are good enough, it's whether they can get their confidence back. Jones, Evans and Smalling have all been there to win leagues, but now they really have to step up."
Scholes went to suggest Van Gaal strikes him as being a "mad genius" but the new manager's ability to strike fear into the players, much like Sir Slex Ferguson had done, will help the club move on from the troubled campaign they suffered under David Moyes.
"From what I've seen in pre-season he looks a bit mad to me. He's a bit like a mad genius - he looks a bit crazy," Scholes said.
"I think he's brought a bit of fear into the players, which is no bad thing. I played for 20 years for Sir Alex Ferguson and he could be a scary man. Sometimes fear can bring performances out from you.
"Players will know where they stand, which is what you want. You knew where you stood with Sir Alex Ferguson, straight from what you'd done on the Saturday. If you'd done well he'd pat you on the back and if you hadn't you probably wouldn't be playing the next week.
"This manager has great experience with proper clubs and has been successful. Hopefully he can bring a bit of that to us."