Paul Merson believes Manchester United could learn from their cross-city rivals Manchester City as they look to challenge for major honours in the near future.
United were on an 11 game unbeaten run before the season was suspended as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and have looked vastly improved since the January signing of Bruno Fernandes.
Their captain Harry Maguire recently said he and the team had ambitions to compete for the Premier League title in the upcoming seasons, and speaking to Sky Sports Merson said they are definitely heading in the right direction.
“I think they’ll be better, no doubt about that,” Merson said when asked about how United will fare when football resumes.
The addition of Bruno Fernandes has seen Manchester United improve
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)
“What they have to be is consistent. Against the bigger boys, teams that come and have a go, they’re a better team, playing counter-attacking football, but you have to mix it up.
“When you become a better football team, teams kick off and put 11 players behind the ball and do that counter-attack to you.
“What you need is players like Bruno Fernandes who can get on the ball and find a pass. When you have 60, 70 per cent of the ball, you need players who will put the ball through the eye of a needle.”
Merson also identified Juan Mata as one player in particular who he thinks United could do with using more effectively.
United’s rivals Manchester City have won the Premier League for the last two consecutive seasons
Mirror Football’s Top Stories
“Man City have been successful because they have players like David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne,” he continued.
“Will Juan Mata play more? I don’t know. But he needs to play in certain games where players will put 11 behind the ball.”
It remains to be seen whether United are playing Champions League football next season, and they were just three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea when football was suspended.