Manchester United legend Gary Neville has put the Red Devils poor start to the season down to a lack of quality rather than commitment following their humiliating defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Brighton have consistently proven to be a thorn in the side of Man United over the years, and they reaffirmed their dominance over the Red Devils with an emphatic 3-1 victory at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Goals from Danny Welbeck, Pascal Gross, and Joao Pedro ensured Hannibal Mejbri’s long-range strike was only a consolation for Erik ten Hag’s side.
The result ended Man United’s extraordinary 31-game unbeaten streak at the Theatre of Dreams and extended their appalling winless run against the Seagulls to five matches across all competitions.
Man United have only taken six points from their opening five games, which leaves them languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League rankings in 13th place.
Neville was left unimpressed by Man United’s display in the defeat to Brighton but insisted it was unsurprising given the difference in performance levels between both sides.
Man United spent over £180 million on new recruits in the summer, bringing in Rasmus Hojlund, Andre Onana, Mason Mount, Sofyan Amrabat, Sergio Reguilon, Jonny Evans and Altay Bayindir.
However, Neville feels those acquisitions haven’t raised the level of the team and insisted he never viewed the Red Devils as a side capable of competing with Manchester City and Arsenal at the top end of the table.
“I was worried at the start of the season,” Neville said (via Sky Sports).
“There was this feeling Manchester United had got their business done early in the transfer window, and that was good, but I was concerned the players they had brought in wouldn’t improve them from last season.
“I never thought for one second they would challenge Manchester City and Arsenal from the players that they brought in.
“That would have needed a Harry Kane-type signing or Declan Rice, as an example. They didn’t have the money to do those types of signings.
“They’re not very good at the moment. There’s no hysteria. I went to the Brighton game as a fan thinking, ‘Could I be surprised?’.
“But 72,000 Manchester United fans in that stadium, who are informed and know Brighton and know their current team, I don’t think any of them were surprised at what they saw.”
Man United’s next fixture sees them travel to Germany for their Champions League Group A curtain-raiser against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Ten Hag has his work cut out ahead of the highly anticipated tie with the Red Devils needing a significantly better performance to thwart the Bundesliga title holders on their own turf.