The former Red Devils midfielder believes that with “a couple of players” brought in, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side can compete with the European elite
Manchester United should be “quietly confident” of progressing out of the Champions League ‘Group of Death’, claims Owen Hargreaves, with the Red Devils considered to be “a couple of players” away from being serious contenders.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are readying themselves for a return to elite European competition in 2020-21.
They have been handed the toughest of tests after stepping back onto that stage, with the group stage draw pitting them against last season’s beaten finalists Paris Saint-Germain, semi-finalists from 2019-20 RB Leipzig and Turkish title holders Istanbul Basaksehir.
Securing a top-two finish when lining up against the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Dayot Upamecano and Demba Ba will not be easy, but Hargreaves believes a positive end to the summer transfer window can leave United feeling optimistic.
The former Red Devils midfielder told BT Sport: “I think they can be confident, quietly confident.
“PSG are the strongest team in the group, but Man United are the second strongest team in the group. Leipzig have a brilliant young manager and he’ll relish playing against Manchester United.
“But, look, they’re not firing on all cylinders right now and hopefully they can get a couple of players in.
“It’s not ideal, the group that they’ve got, but hopefully they can go into it, get a couple of players, and finish if not first, finish second.”
Former England manager Glenn Hoddle also believes that United are capable of reaching the knocking stages, but admits that the draw could have been kinder to them.
He said: “I think United have got the toughest one, for sure, they look like some tasty games there.
“They’ve been trying [to get players in], no doubt about it. Ole’s going to hope they can get over the line with a couple of signings.
“It’s difficult, when you’re going for your top option in [Jadon] Sancho, and you can’t get that deal done, then the other options suddenly, you have to move very quickly. I still think they’re capable of getting through this group – I really do.
“We haven’t seen the best of United yet, at the back end of last season, they were playing exceedingly well. I thought they had the balance in midfield working well, they’ve got to get back to that and they’re capable of doing that.
“Normally, there’s always pressure on Manchester United, of course, but this year, I think it is a little bit like Chelsea in a way – a work in progress. They cannot expect too much, if they qualify out of this group, we’ll see where they do.
“Whether they can win it, I don’t think they can, but yes, the pressure will be off them a bit.”