Shaw issue a distraction from Manchester United's failures, says Neville

Gary Neville thinks Manchester United have greater concerns than Luke Shaw and his treatment by manager Jose Mourinho.

Luke Shaw and Jose Mourinho   -  Getty Images

Luke Shaw's relationship with Jose Mourinho is being used as a distraction from Manchester United's bigger problems, according to Gary Neville.

Mourinho's treatment of the left-back has come back into the spotlight in the past week, after he substituted the player at half-time of United's FA Cup win over Brighton and Hove Albion and later rebuked him for his performance.

The United manager seems to have cultivated an uneasy relationship with Shaw during his time at Old Trafford and has been criticised for his treatment of the former Southampton man.

Neville, though, thinks the issue is serving as a smoke screen, with United having been unable to catch Manchester City in the Premier League title race and having suffered a humbling Champions League exit to Sevilla.

"I can't help feeling the whole Luke Shaw issue is a distraction from the critical aspect of the season," Neville told Sky Sports.

"United spent a lot of money and the aspiration was to win the Premier League and go as far as they could in the Champions League and obviously neither have happened.

"The issue for me isn't the individuals – whether Shaw, Paul Pogba or Alexis Sanchez are underperforming – but that the team aren't very consistent, which, over the course of Mourinho's career, his teams have always been.

"If you look at the performances against Liverpool and then Sevilla, they were night and day, and this looks like a group of individuals rather than a group functioning as a team.

"What I would say about Shaw is that the talent and ability are there, but his job as a footballer is to be prepared to perform every day and do every single thing in his life well to be a United player.

"At the moment, his potential is not being recognised. I've got a great belief in Luke Shaw and the reality is it would be a great shame if he leaves United without fulfilling his potential."

Paul Pogba's future has also come under scrutiny, with the midfielder having started just four of United's last 11 games due to injury and a loss of form.

Neville admits the France international has got to be more consistent in his performances, but he believes the Pogba conundrum has been blown out of proportion.

"Paul Pogba has got the character and personality to play for United, there's no doubt about that," he said. "What he has got to do is perform consistently.

"Some will say it is down to the position he plays, while some will say it is his lack of concentration and focus. It is never a matter of a black and white in the sense that there's always a player's reason and always a manager's reason but, as I look at it, he needs to play with higher levels of concentration.

"Everything about Manchester United is a crisis. Every time they lose a game – like against Sevilla – everything is a crisis and there is no reasoned level being applied."

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