Cristiano Ronaldo may be back among the goals at Manchester United, but the Red Devils still have no squad to compete with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.
That’s the view of talkSPORT hosts Danny Murphy and Simon Jordan, who believe United’s rivals all have better starting XIs despite the superstar’s return to Old Trafford.
Ronaldo had a memorable second start on Saturday, scoring a brace as Newcastle were beaten at the Theater of Dreams.
But Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City also recorded victories and also had a brilliant campaign debut with a series of more difficult matches, with just one point separating the four title contenders at the top of the table.
United will face better teams than the struggling Magpies and Murphy believes people shouldn’t jump to conclusions too quickly when assessing their start to the season.
“Over the past few seasons, there have been a lot of games where they have scored goals and performed well offensively,” he told talkSPORT.
“The problem is when they run up against the big five.
“They are struggling to win games against the best opposition. Can they transfer that feel-good factor they now have into big games and pick a side that has the right balance to compete with Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City? I don’t think so – even with Ronaldo there.
“Are they better than Chelsea? I do not think so. Are they better than Liverpool and City? I do not think so.
Simon Jordan echoed Murphy’s sentiments and said United will fight for the title but may ultimately fail even in light of Ronaldo’s arrival.
“No one – not even me – has said that United cannot be contenders,” he noted. “But there is a difference between the contenders and the winners and I don’t think they will win.
“Of course Ronaldo is going to have an impact, everyone knows he is going to have an impact, but the question is whether he will have an impact in 38 games against the biggest teams.
“The minds of conventional football suggest he probably won’t.
“When you look at Newcastle, with respect, if they had Callum Wilson up front they would have more goals than before United even got off the scoresheet and were in the game for great proportions.
“You watch part of this game from Newcastle defenders and it was poor, Ronaldo won’t face those opportunities against other teams.
“What I saw on Saturday was an incredible level of momentum. If you can galvanize that momentum and overlap it and put it on most of the season, then yes, they’ll have a chance. “
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