Former Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley says the current Manchester United side have no hope of winning the title this season, even with the arrival of Louis van Gaal.
One of the most decorated managers in European football, Van Gaal lead United to a 100 per cent win record during pre-season, with victories over Liverpool, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Roma fuelling expectations for the coming campaign.
After last season’s seventh-place finish, the Champions League-winning coach’s appointment even lead some to tip the club for the Premier League title this term, but the weekend’s 2-1 home defeat to Swansea showed that such a significant jump will be a tough ask.
Burley, however, wasn’t at all surprised by the opening day loss and can’t understand how some could have picked United to go all the way this season, considering the current state of their squad.
‘Swansea beating Manchester United – I didn’t find that a surprise at all,’ he told ESPN.
‘What really got my goat was how certain pundits on both sides of the pond could have Manchester United go from seventh to first in the league, just because they’ve bought in an experienced manager.
‘I cannot fathom how people, who are supposed to be knowledgeable in this business, can look at Manchester United’s team at the moment and say, “that’s a team who’s going to finish top of the league.”
‘I’d like to get all those pundits in a room and say, “give us a reason.”
‘I don’t think Sir Alex Ferguson in his prime could have taken this United team to the title, but some prominent people back in England, like Philip Neville for example, came out and backed them.
‘What utter nonsense, and what it does is get supporters talking and thinking that Louis van Gaal is going to win this and that, and that everything’s great and rosy.
‘But really, if you were living on the moon and came down on a galactic space ship to watch United on Saturday, you would have thought David Moyes was still manager.’
United will have a chance to bounce back from the disappointing Swansea result when they travel to the Stadium of Light on Sunday to take on Sunderland, with Van Gaal bidding to prove he can mastermind a turnaround in fortunes for the club.