Jamie Carragher feels Manchester United’s squad still has some way to go before the club can be considered title challengers again.
The arrival of Bruno Fernandes has helped spark Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side into some impressive form of late, with Thursday’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa taking the Red Devils to within a point of the top four.
However, United are still some 34 points behind new Premier League champions Liverpool, who wrapped up their first league title in 30 years last month and are seeking to break the division’s points record in their remaining games of the season.
In Carragher’s day Liverpool and United’s roles were reversed, and the former Reds defender says he recognises something of his former club in the current setup at United.
“United hope Fernandes is the man inspiring them to that first significant target of a Champions League place,” he wrote in his column in The Telegraph.
“They look stronger with him because top-class players bring out more from those around.
“I often experienced similar reawakenings at Liverpool, especially when Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez joined the club.
“Within a few training sessions and games you realised you had a matchwinner so the belief soared and all the talk about managers ‘needing a clearout’ subsided.
“That is why I would offer a note of caution to United fans.
“Just as the club is never as far away from a revival as it might seem after nightmare defeats, they are not always as near to being title contenders as it appears after a promising run.”
Although stating that they are falling short now, Carragher adds that the comparison between United and his Liverpool sides should be seen in a positive light.
“However the observation is received, comparing the United of now to Liverpool in the 2000s is a compliment, not an insult.” he added.
“We were in a constant state of being close, but not close enough. United have the resources to bridge the gap to ensure their wait to return to the top is not so long.”