Gary Neville thinks Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba are the only two players Man Utd have who can “open up defences”.

The Red Devils struggled to break down West Ham’s rearguard on Sunday night but eventually triumphed 1-0 to boost their top-four hopes.

Mason Greenwood twice struck the post on a night when Craig Dawson’s own goal proved the difference as Man Utd moved nine points clear of the fifth-placed Hammers.


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They remain 14 points behind leaders Man City and Neville reckons Man Utd need to improve the creativity in their ranks if they are to challenge City at the top next season.

Neville told Sky Sports: “You know how Man United are, they struggle to break down teams. They’ve got to be better against teams in those deep blocks with ten men behind the ball. That’s where the next stage is.

“It’s about being more higher quality in the final third. There are more organised and compact teams around now, especially teams in the bottom half.

“You need fantastic players: you look at Man City – (Kevin) De Bruyne, (Ilkay) Gundogan, (Riyad) Mahrez, (Phil) Foden… they have five or six of them.”

Neville added: “Fernandes and Pogba may open up defences in these situations, the rest need space to operate.

“Man City have five or six players, if two are injured someone else can unlock the door. If it’s not Fernandes then it’s probably Luke Shaw who’s most likely to do something (after that).

“They need to up their speed and their game a little bit. They play too slow against teams that drop off. When they played against City the passing was really good, they need to do that against teams that drop deep.”

Meanwhile, Jamie Redknapp, who was also speaking on Sky Sports, agreed with Neville that they “need more creativity”.

Redknapp said: “They (United) need more creativity in the team. They miss Pogba.

“There are games when you have Fred and McTominay in there and you don’t have the balance in home games like that. It’s easy to play against them.

“When you have Pogba and Bruno they are more difficult to break down. When he comes back, they are a different proposition.”

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