Gary Neville hopes FA Cup final win can act as a catalyst for success at Man Utd

The absentee-hit Red Devils languish eighth after Monday’s 4-0 humbling at Crystal Palace and have three matches to avoid recording their lowest finish and points tally of the Premier League era.

United’s poor performances and results have heaped pressure on under-fire manager Erik ten Hag and increased the importance of the FA Cup final against neighbours Manchester City.

Big changes are afoot whatever happens at Wembley as Ineos look to take the Old Trafford outfit back to the top, but former captain Neville believes the May 25 clash could be the catalyst for a brighter future.

“As sure as the sun will rise, Manchester United will start to win again,” he told the PA news agency. “It’s a fact.

“When that is, I don’t know. It can be no guarantee, but I know that these things go in cycles.

“I lived my whole childhood watching Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal win trophies, win the old Division One, and was patient.

“I had to wait until I was 18, 19 when Manchester United first won a league title in my life – and then we won a load of league titles, and now we’ve not won one for 10 years.

Gary Neville won multiple Premier League titles with United (Nick Potts/PA)

“I know full well that in my lifetime – hopefully – Manchester United will win trophies, but they will win trophies again. We will get it right, just as Liverpool will, just as Arsenal will.

“You can’t keep these great clubs down. I’m sorry, they’re too big, they’re too established, they’ve got a great history, they go through lean periods.

“Look, I hope in three, four weeks that this FA Cup final against Manchester City, which is such a tough game, we know how good City are, but if they can just defy the odds who knows where that might lead to.

“You know, in 1989-90 Sir Alex Ferguson won an FA Cup that put belief into him, into a group of players.

Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates with goalkeeper Les Sealey after winning the FA Cup
Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates with goalkeeper Les Sealey after winning the FA Cup in 1990 (PA archive)

“They then went onto win a Cup Winners’ Cup, then went onto win the League Cup, then went onto eventually win a league title.

“It was building block by block, step by step and that could be just around the corner, or it could be a few years away, but they will win again Manchester United. It’s inevitable.”

The FA Cup final is a repeat of last year’s showpiece, which City won 2-1 before going onto lift the Champions League and join United as the only English teams in history to win the treble.

The rivals go toe-to-toe the day before the 25th anniversary of Ferguson’s side achieving the ground-breaking feat, which is celebrated in a new Prime Video documentary series released next Friday.

Neville was among the United treble heroes at the world premiere of ’99’ in Manchester on Thursday evening and enjoyed reminiscing about their historic season.

“I remember saying to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that night ‘you don’t know what you’ve just done’,” he said.

“Honestly, it hit me the minute that goal went in. I lay on the floor and looked up because I was a United fan. I knew that what we’d done was monumental.

Peter Schmeichel lifts the Champions League in 1999
Peter Schmeichel lifts the Champions League in 1999 (Phil Noble/PA)

“Not just to get the treble, but just the actual winning the Champions League, so to look back on it is great.

“We obviously want to achieve things in our post-football careers, but nostalgia’s good every so often and I think this was the right time to do it.

“It’s the last time this story could be told, I think, by the group of players that took part in it.”

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