CANTONA’S kung-fu kick ban, Beckham’s Simeone scythe, Ronaldo’s wink after Rooney’s red . . . Manchester United have had crises aplenty and usually come back stronger.
And that is what Gary Neville is expecting this season after Harry Maguire’s run-in with the Greek law and Mason Greenwood being sent home by England after inviting girls into their Icelandic hotel.
Captain Maguire was found guilty of a number of charges following his encounter with plain-clothes cops on the party island of Mykonos last month.
He was handed a suspended sentence of 21 months and ten days, but Maguire is appealing and has vowed to clear his name.
Yet United legend Neville believes these incidents can galvanise the Red Devils squad.
The Sky Sports pundit said: “These moments can invigorate the squad and bring them together. They can create a spirit when you think everyone is against you and you think you are being criticised.
“I think of the big moments at Manchester United — Eric Cantona’s return season or David Beckham coming back from a World Cup when there was high pressure.
“The Wayne Rooney-Cristiano Ronaldo thing was a huge incident, well beyond the Harry Maguire incident.
“It was a national thing, two great players, but they went on to win the Champions League and Premier Leagues together.”
The Maguire and Greenwood episodes have come in a difficult summer for United that also included Paul Pogba testing positive for Covid-19 and frustrations in the transfer market.
Donny van de Beek remains the only new recruit while negotiations for top target Jadon Sancho continue to drag on.
Neville is disappointed his old side has as yet failed to capitalise on their Champions League qualification with more summer business.
He feels boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side need at least another “four” new faces on top of Van de Beek, including a centre-back, centre-forward, right-winger and, potentially, a new left-back.
The former England star added: “To get all that business done now is going to become incredibly difficult, so I’m disappointed.
“They seem to have a real struggle to get deals over the line. That seems to happen year in, year out.
“Sancho is now dragging out beyond belief.”
Solskjaer guided United to a third-placed finish last term, sealing a return to the Champions League.
It signified progress but the gap to champions Liverpool was still 33 points — and 15 to second-placed Manchester City.
Semi-final defeats in the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League meant no silverware going to Old Trafford.
Asked what success would be for United this season, Neville replied: “A trophy and breaking that top two has to be the next step.
“Finishing third was a big moment for Ole, it was really important to him because that’s progression.
“He has to look to break that top two and that’s going to be difficult.
“He needs more players and support from the board to do that.”
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