Man United out to prove their empire is not crumbling, says Gary Neville
Gary Neville believes Manchester United will be keen to prove their empire is intact after Manchester City's league title success
Gary Neville believes Manchester United will be relishing the challenge of proving their “empire” is not crumbling by winning the Premier League for a 13th time next season.
The Red Devils were minutes away from claiming their 20th top-flight title on the final day of last season, before Sergio Aguero’s dramatic stoppage-time winner sealed a 3-2 victory over Queens Park Rangers and ended Manchester City’s 44-year wait for England’s top prize.
The 37-year-old, who retired in February 2011 after winning eight Premier League titles during a 19-year career at Old Trafford, admits it has been a difficult few months for the Red Devils after relinquishing their league crown to their bitter derby rivals.
“You can bet they would have had a frustrating summer after not winning any trophies last season,” Neville told United’s website.
“The beauty of football is that you start afresh each year with a clean slate.
“United now have an opportunity to put things right. The challenge this season is always the same: it’s to win the Premier League, do well in the cups and do well in the Champions League.
“That challenge never changes but, obviously, when you don’t win anything you have an added incentive because people start to question the team and wonder if the empire is crumbling.
“The manager and the players have had to cope with all that before, so this challenge is something they’ll all be looking forward to.”
Sir Alex Ferguson fact-file
• Ferguson shot to prominence at Aberdeen by breaking the Old Firm’s 14-year stranglehold of the Scottish title in 1980.
• He claimed a first European title three years later when the Dons beat Real Madrid to lift the Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup – earning him freedom of the City of Aberdeen.
• The 70-year-old replaced Ron Atkinson at Old Trafford in November 1986, and ended United’s 26-year wait for an English title in 1993. Has since added ten more championships to a domestic collection which includes five FA Cups and four League Cups.
• He guided United to Cup Winners’ Cup glory with victory against FC Barcelona in 1991, though his greatest achievements are the Champions League triumphs of 1999 and 2008.