Gary Neville is adamant Erik ten Hag doesn’t believe can win the title after he ‘prioritised’ the Europa League clash against Barcelona over Sunday’s Premier League victory over Leeds United.
United are two points behind second-placed and five behind leaders Arsenal after their .
Ten Hag made three changes for the trip to Leeds, with Jadon Sancho recalled to the starting line-up and Harry Maguire partnering Luke Shaw at centre-back.
That meant Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez – two players who have featured heavily under Ten Hag – were both on the bench.
Neville believes Ten Hag rested the World Cup finalists with Manchester United’s clash with Barcelona in mind and says it was proof that Ten Hag is ‘prioritising’ the Europa League over the Premier League.
United travel to the Nou Camp on Thursday night to face La Liga leaders Barcelona in the first leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off.
‘I genuinely don’t think they are in the Premier League title race,’ Neville said on .
‘What was interesting was I was watching the second half [against Leeds] and I didn’t think United were going to get the goal and I didn’t think they were going to get the win.
‘At that point I was thinking Erik ten Hag has actually prioritised the Barcelona game this week. He’s put Martinez and Varane on the bench and saved them for Barcelona and played Shaw and Maguire at centre-back.
‘If he thought he could win the Premier League he would obviously prioritise that so I think even he’s thinking the title is beyond them. He got away with it today and it’s worked but I just don’t think they can win the Premier League.
‘They’ve got so many games and I just don’t think they’re at the level of Man City and Arsenal right now.’
Manchester United drew 2-2 with Leeds earlier in the week and looked set for another frustrating outcome at Elland Road as both teams struggled to find a breakthrough.
But Marcus Rashford headed home his 21st goal of the season to break the deadlock before Alejandro Garnacho put the game to bed with United’s second.
‘It was a hectic game, which you expect here,’ Ten Hag said. ‘At the start we were not calm enough, we made bad decisions on the ball and were not calm enough on the ball, too hectic, and after the subs we were a little calmer, we dictated the game a bit more.’
On his team’s trip to Barcelona, Ten Hag added: ‘It is a great game, two big clubs wanting a reset and we really look forward to competing with them.’
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