Gary Neville says Manchester United and Manchester City are on a major collision course next season after labelling one stat in City’s title triumph as “outrageous”.
The Sky Sports pundit believes next season will be crucial to Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola as Mourinho attempts to wrestle control back from City.
Neville says it is “going to go off” between the two Manchester sides in the next 12 months as Guardiola looks to win back-to-back titles, while Mourinho will look for another season of progression, which will likely mean being champions as they look set to claim second spot this term.
The dueling managers both have 20 career titles to their name now after City claimed the title on Sunday after United were beaten by West Brom.
And Neville thinks next season will be huge.
“When they both came in Manchester two years ago this was going to be a collision course,” the former United defender told Monday Night Football.
“There was always going to be a winner and a loser. If you look at the head-to-head of these two managers and the titles they have won, they have won 20 titles each.
“If Manchester United were to win the league next season, Jose Mourinho would say that he’s come out on top over the three years period. If Pep Guardiola wins the title next season he will say he is starting to dominate English football and produce a great side, saying his team are the winner and he is the winner so next season is critical.
“This season there is no doubt that Guardiola has stolen in front. Mourinho can still end the season with a trophy to add to the two of last season, so you can’t say he’s been a failure but over a three-year period, it’s who wins the Premier League titles that will come out the winner.
“Next season is absolutely critical for both managers.
“Guardiola is not going to let up but Mourinho has also never given in so this is going to come to a head,” he added.
“This time next year we will be talking about who is the winner and the loser in Manchester because this is a massive collision course.
“This is going to go off at some point in the next 12 months, I can assure you of that and for United fans, they’ll hope they can come back and for City fans, they’ll hope they can just drill United into the ground and finish them off.”
Neville has admitted he doubted whether a side could win the Premier League playing total football and says City’s 70 per cent average possession stat is “outrageous”.
“In terms of style I had my doubts from last season. Every Premier League team that I’ve seen win the league has had an element of what I call power. There’s never been a team that I would say in my mind that played just pure football.
“Of course they’ve had to defend free-kicks, of course they’ve had to do the ugly part of the game at certain points but they’ve absolutely shown us another way. I look at the possession of the teams that have won the league that is a different level.
“In terms of style, this is different to anything we’ve seen before. Of course we have seen teams keep possession. All the teams that have won the league, apart from Leicester, have had more possession but to get to a 70 per cent average is absolutely outrageous.”