Gary Neville has dismissed claims that Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho “is finished” as an elite-level manager.
Mourinho has faced mounting criticism and pressure this season after a poor start.
United won their first game against Leicester, but subsequently lost to both Brighton and Tottenham to leave them far off the pace of their rivals.
They beat Burnley to ease the pressure somewhat, but Mourinho’s methods and tactics are still being regularly called into question.
“Still hopeful that somehow, through siege mentality more than anything, they can mount some sort of challenge that really just disrupts people,” he told The Times.
“If they can stay in it until January and maybe get one or two defenders in, they may have a chance, but I doubt it. I think United will be third or fourth.
“Believe it or not I liked the Tottenham game, certainly the first 40 minutes. I watched Burnley and thought it was really good. I am hopeful they have turned a corner.
“I always remember something Tony Adams said to me at Euro 96 and I took these words with me through my career. I asked him what was the worst mistake and he said, ‘Gary, if you are in football long enough you will know tough times when your confidence goes, you make mistakes, everyone writes you off. Expect it.’
“Even Sir Alex Ferguson, from 2003 to 2006 when we didn’t win the league and people said he had lost it, end of an era, he’s finished.
“I think José is a brilliant manager and, in a 25-year career, young managers will emerge, people will ask questions if you aren’t successful. He’s having a more difficult time, but finished? I genuinely think that’s a nonsense.”