Gary Lineker thinks Manchester United’s newly-improved forward line will fire them back into the Champions League – but not to the Premier League title.
The BBC anchorman insisted that the addition of Radamel Falcao and Àngel Di María to the proven pair of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie should put the Red Devils back into the top four after they slumped to seventh last season.
But with the loss of experienced defenders Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand leaving a porous defence, Lineker insists the title won’t be heading to Old Trafford.
In an exclusive interview with MM, the former England hitman said: “Top four is undoubtedly realistic, but I think the title’s going a bit too far this year.
“They have bought quality and they are much improved, there is no doubt about that.
“They are a bit top-heavy but its forwards that win matches and Real Madrid are like that and it’s never done them any harm.”
However, the approach did harm the Red Devils as let a 3-1 lead slip at Leicester yesterday to crash to their second Premier League defeat under their new boss.
But the new men upfront did impress during the 5-3 defeat at the King Power Stadium.
United secured the signing of Falcao, 28, on deadline day on a year-loan deal with a view to sign and the Columbian laid on a pin-point cross for Van Persie to open the scoring before striking the bar in the defeat.
Adding that to the British record signing of Di María, 26, and United’s frontline is looking quite lethal – as the Argentine proved with his deft chip yesterday.
At the other end, Lineker praised Louis van Gaal’s faith in youth – even though United’s back four has shipped eight goals in five Premier League games so far.
Lineker highlighted the emerging young talent from United, pointing out the emergence of Manchester-born Tyler Blackett, 20.
The Leicester City fan said: “He’s showed great fortitude, coming into that team and managing to survive. He’s another encouraging young talent.”
Blackett has started every single Premier League match for United, but is now suspended, after he saw red in the closing moments against Leicester.
The England legend also believes the country’s most expensive teenager Luke Shaw has a bright future ahead – once he gets some game time for United.
He said: “Luke Shaw is going to be a really good, really consistent player for them.”
United’s next opponents are West Ham at Old Trafford on Saturday after they crashed out of the League Cup in calamitous style, courtesy of a 4-0 thrashing by League One MK Dons.
Lineker was speaking at the Manchester Airport and British Airways Runway Run – a fundraising four kilometre run around the runway.
Image courtesy of BBC via YouTube with thanks