The ex-Red Devils defender believes standards have been raised at Old Trafford but admits EFL Cup success must be complemented by a top-four finish
Phil Neville believes Manchester United are “100 per cent going in the right direction” but has warned that EFL Cup success would not be enough to gloss over failings in the Premier League.
The Red Devils booked their place in the first major final of the season on Thursday evening with a 3-2 aggregate victory over Hull City.
Mou record that bodes well for United
Jose Mourinho’s men now have another day out at Wembley to look forward to, but a 2-1 defeat at the KC Stadium saw a 17-game unbeaten run in all competitions come to an end.
United were lacklustre for much of the encounter, despite the reward at stake, and eventually edged through courtesy of a second half effort from Paul Pogba.
While they were far from their best against the Tigers, Neville feels his former club are moving forward under Mourinho’s guidance, with a winning mentality restored at Old Trafford.
He told Sky Sports: “They are 100 per cent going in the right direction.
Lethargic Man Utd shrug away record
“They are playing with a better style, they are playing with more confidence, they have got a determination about them.
“They have lost tonight, qualified for a major final and those players didn’t really celebrate at the end of the game.
“That shows you how far they have come, that the standards have been raised at that football club back to where it should be.”
While United can take heart from being back on the trophy trail, Neville admits that Champions League qualification through their league placing has to be considered the top priority this season.
Mourinho: We didn’t lose
He added: “They have to finish in the top four because of the marketing and the commercial side and I think that is the minimum that they want. But, winning a major trophy should not be taken lightly.
“I think the league is a little bit too much, so you look at getting in the Champions League through either finishing in the top four or winning the Europa League. United can more than do that.”
United currently sit sixth in the Premier League table, four points adrift of Liverpool in fourth.