The Red Devils moved to within two points of second-placed City after an emphatic 3-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday.
They’ve got the right start. If they’d lost today or dropped points in a poor performance, it would have been difficult
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are coming under pressure from Arsenal and United after a shock 1-0 reversal at Sean Dyche’s Burnley on Saturday.
While their derby rivals are in sight, former United defender Neville wants Louis van Gaal’s side to focus on securing the final Champions League spot ahead of their trip to Anfield next weekend.
Speaking to Sky Sports following their comfortable win against Lilywhites, Neville said: “Consolidating fourth place should be the target.
“Today was a must-win. Lose today and you are looking at the forthcoming fixtures in a daunting way. Looking at the fixtures now, they can be confident when they go to Anfield next week. They’ve got big games coming up with Chelsea, City and even Everton away.
“They’ve got the right start. If they’d lost today or dropped points in a poor performance, it would have been difficult.
“I think they can be a lot more optimistic.”
United have just won two of their last seven games away from home in the Premier League ahead of their trip to Anfield.
The Red Devils lost 1-0 on Merseyside last season after Daniel Sturridge scored a fourth-minute winner in September 2013.
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