‘Carabao Cup is Man Utd’s best hope of a trophy’ – Red Devils not ready to

The former Red Devils defender believes another top-four finish would represent a successful season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side

The Carabao Cup is Manchester United‘s best hope of a trophy this season, according to Mikael Silvestre, who says the Red Devils are not ready to challenge for the Premier League title.

United finished third last season after an impressive post-lockdown run which raised optimism among supporters after seven years of mediocrity in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was ultimately unable to deliver a trophy in his first full campaign at the helm, but a return to the Champions League and a run to three semi-finals was seen as a major step in the right direction.

The Red Devils have allowed their standards to slip once again at the start of the new season, picking up just six points from a possible 12 in the Premier League.

Humiliating home defeats against Crystal Palace and Tottenham raised fresh doubts over Solskjaer’s credentials, with EFL Cup wins over Luton and Brighton doing little to ease pressure on the Norwegian.

United returned to action after the international back in impressive fashion, beating Newcastle 4-1 at St James’ Park, but still find themselves seven points behind early pace-setters Everton, albeit having played a game less.

It has been suggested that the title race will be closer than ever this term in the continued absence of supporters, with all of the top sides struggling for consistency while looking surprisingly vulnerable in defence.

However, Silvestre has ruled out a tilt at the trophy for his old club, insisting Solskjaer still has plenty of work to do before the team can compete on an elite stage again.

“They have an opportunity to progress in the Carabao Cup and that is realistically United’s best hope of getting a trophy,” the former Red Devils defender told 888 Sport.

“To have a successful season though they must finish inside the top four and to continue progressing as a group and as a club. It is too early to talk about challenging for a title.

“The base is to be in there and to maybe finish higher than their third place from last season.”

Silvestre thinks Bruno Fernandes will be vital to United’s chances of achieving their goals in the coming months, having seen the €55 million (£65m/$50m) midfielder add a creative spark to Solskjaer’s team since his arrival from Sporting CP in January.

“He is key to United performances because of his quality and his ability to feed the strikers,” the Frenchman added. “There are his set-pieces too and yesterday was a great finish from a very good build-up.

“He is bringing that extra quality that was missing so when he is on top of his game he finds the right pass at the right tempo – he can do everything that Juan [Mata] can but at a quicker pace.

“It is important that he stays fit and carries on doing what he is doing at the moment.”

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