Gary Neville has admitted his surprise at Manchester United's league position as he issued a warning to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Red Devils are set to finish the Premier League season in second place, improving on the previous campaign.
United finished 33 points behind Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool last year but have significantly cut the gap to this season's league leaders.
Taking stock of the club's campaign, Neville did not expect United to find themselves this high up the table but has insisted there are areas that still require addressing.
"Ole has got a lot of work to do this summer and they've got to hit the ground running next season. But they're a lot closer than I thought they would be," he told Sky Sports.
"I didn't think they'd finish second this season."
The aim for next season will now be to challenge for the title as United look to respond to Manchester City's continued success.
Pep Guardiola's side have now claimed the Premier League crown in three of the last four years and will be considered the team to stop in 2021/22.
Asked if United can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Liverpool and City for top spot, Neville believes summer recruitment will play big part but acknowledged that Solskjaer is still trailing Klopp and Guardiola in one other department.
"I think it depends on recruitment this summer and what the other clubs do and how much Manchester United can grow. And how, to be fair, they can handle fans coming in next season. There is that nervousness that teams have done better with stadiums not full, that they've not been under that pressure of 75,000," said the Sky Sports pundit.
Neville continued: "I think when you hear Alex Ferguson talk you realise Manchester United can't accept second.
"What Pep Guardiola is doing at Manchester City is something pretty special. As is Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and it's going to take a lot to get past that. That's what Ole has to try and do but it won't be easy because those two managers have a real hold over their clubs and fans.
"That connection Sir Alex had with his players is there at those two clubs at the moment."
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