Alan Shearer does not expect Manchester United to compete for major honours this season following their disappointing start to their Premier League campaign.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have flattered to deceive so far, losing to Crystal Palace on the opening day before scraping past Brighton in their second game.
They then suffered their joint-heaviest ever Premier League defeat when they were thrashed 6-1 by Tottenham at Old Trafford, and the pressure will be on when they travel to Newcastle this weekend.
Speaking to The Athletic, Shearer claims that he did not have high hopes for United before the season started – and is now even more pessimistic about their chances of success.
"I wasn’t expecting them to challenge for the title anyway," Shearer said.
"I thought they would challenge for a top-four spot, but at the moment they look as if they’re going backwards.
"If you look at the three league games they’ve played, the first game against Crystal Palace they were hopeless.
"The second game at Brighton, yes they showed some character to get back into the game but they also got away with it because Brighton hit the woodwork five times.
"The third game against Tottenham, you could use whatever word you wanted and they couldn’t argue with it because it was there for everyone to see.
"And it wasn’t as if it was just because they had a man sent off; it was a shambles with 11 men as well. It was really poor."
Following an unpredictable start to the season some believe the Premier League could have a shock winner, with the likes of Everton, Aston Villa and Leicester starting strongly.
But Shearer does not believe there will be a surprise triumph, and thinks a more interesting race will be the one for the top four.
"As I sit here, I don’t see anyone other than Liverpool or Man City for the title," he added.
"What I do see as an exciting race this season is the battle for the top four. I think it will be more intense than ever."
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