Gary Neville was enthused by a Manchester United performance he “didn’t think was possible” as they defeated Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford on Monday.
The former United captain said he could not believe how the hugely anticipated game unfolded, with the Red Devils stopping the rot at the start of Erik ten Hag’s tenure.
United had lost their opening two Premier League games under their new manager, at home to Brighton and Hove Albion and away to Brentford, to prompt talk of crisis.
Yet goals from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford lifted Ten Hag’s men above Liverpool, who underwhelmed and are now still waiting for their own first win of the league season.
Neville had fumed at United’s display in the 4-0 thrashing at Brentford nine days earlier, but he was suddenly full of optimism after the win at Old Trafford.
“I’m absolutely stunned, to be honest with you,” he said in his role as a Sky Sports pundit. “I didn’t think that was possible, tonight, what I saw, in terms of response.
“I thought the players had cemented what they do now over many months at the end of last season, the start of this season.
1 – Erik ten Hag is the first Manchester United manager to secure his first ever competitive win with the club in a match against Liverpool. Arrived. pic.twitter.com/mvtOYYvmzL
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 22, 2022
“What’s happened this week I don’t know, but they’ve responded. Maybe the slight changes in personnel, making brave decisions…
“The captain [Harry Maguire], the star player [Cristiano Ronaldo] have both been left on the bench. That means the manager just gains a little bit of gravitas, maybe, with other players.
“Bruno [Fernandes] has responded; I think [Lisandro] Martinez at the back has played well alongside [Raphael] Varane. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t believe what I’ve just witnessed.
“Liverpool weren’t at their best, let’s be clear, but they weren’t at their best against Crystal Palace and Fulham.
“It was just the effort difference that we saw from Manchester United; they’ve outrun Liverpool, they’ve outsprinted Liverpool.
“We’ve questioned that a number of times over the last 12 months, that they’re not capable of doing it, and they’ve shown tonight that they are capable of doing it.”
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