Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes that City’s display against West Ham on Sunday has given Manchester United hope of a big result at Old Trafford next week.
Manchester City survived a scare to beat West Ham at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday with David Silva scoring a late winner to maintain their 8 point lead on second place Manchester United whom they play next Sunday.
City have now won 13 league games in a row and, given they are still unbeaten, are favourites to pip United to the league title at the end of the season.
But Neville thinks the game against West Ham will give Jose Mourinho hope ahead of next week’s showdown at Old Trafford.
“It has been a tough week for Manchester City, but a good one, though it has also been a good week for Manchester United as well, in terms of competitors chasing City,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“They [United] might, for the first time this season, have just seen a little ray of hope, that there will be better teams than Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham, yet all came close.
“All three played a certain way and got joy with certain things – counter-attack has been a problem for City this week, set-pieces and corners have been a problem this week, deep and compact defences have also been a problem this week in terms of breaking them down.
“You would argue, given what happened at Arsenal on Saturday, that United do have that counter-attack ability with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard, and that they do have the ability to score from set-pieces, and they are a better defensive unit than Southampton or West Ham.
“United will be confident going into the game because of what has happened this weekend for City, even though it has been a good week for City too, as they’ve scored three late winners and have taken maximum points.”
Neville was also critical of City’s first half performance.
He added: “Everyone will have believed they should have won those matches, but they’ve made it difficult for themselves and haven’t been at their best”.
“The first 45 minutes is the worst I’ve seen from them this season. It was absolute complacency. They came out and were nowhere near at it.
“Guardiola made the right decision [to rest Kompany and Fernandinho] – it’s something Sir Alex Ferguson would have done 10 or 15 years ago – he would have looked ahead.
“I don’t think anybody thought it was the wrong decision, but psychologically it sends a message to the fans, to us, and to the players that they’re already thinking about a bigger fish to fry next week.”
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