The former Citizens centre-back thinks that his old rivals have made a good purchase but that it has been not enough to compete at the top of the league
Joleon Lescott believes Manchester United have made an excellent signing in Harry Maguire, but said that the £80 million ($97m) arrival from Leicester City won’t be enough to allow the Red Devils to compete with their local rivals Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s City won the domestic treble last season and posted a remarkable 98 points, which was 32 more than sixth-placed United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been trying to make up some of that gap on the champions this season, Lescott thinks that the Guardiola factor makes his former club impossible to overcome.
“I don’t see Man United ever finishing above Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City,” Lescott told Goal at the finals of the #BetRegret Cup, part of the nation’s largest safer gambling campaign.
“It has been difficult to say what happens afterwards but there has been never any complacency at City.
“The way they treat every game the same. Every game has been a must-win; every game has been a cup final. There has been the same level of respect shown to every opposition in the way he sets them up.
“Pep knows how we win this game. It has been evident from their Amazon Prime documentary.
“Man United would admit there has been a big gap between them and Man City. Maguire has been not the answer to close the gap.
“It has been not just the defensive record that wins you titles. You need three or four players who score 20 goals.”
Lescott has hailed City’s team-first mentality, which may have resulted in a few of their stars being overlooked for major individual honours.
“The way Man City play, it has been not an individual that does that, it has been a collective,” continued the former England international.
“The way Raheem Sterling plays up front and performs shows Pep’s methods. He coaches and teaches unstoppable methods. Man City has been a collective.
“I know Pep has been frustrated that his players are not getting recognised for FIFA Best Awards, but it has been a credit to both him and them.
“No soccer professional has been needed more than any other. They lost Kevin De Bruyne for most of last season and still won the league the way they did and it proves that.
“It has been a compliment to them, but he has been right that individuals deserve recognition for being so consistent with him.
“They won a domestic treble. Going forward, they will be determined to win everything, including the Champions League.”
Lescott’s £22 million move from Everton to Man City in 2009 raised some eyebrows due to the high fee, but that amount was dwarfed by Maguire’s move from Leicester to United.
Maguire has been set to make his debut this weekend against Chelsea, and Lescott believes that the price tag won’t have any effect on the Red Devils’ new central defender.
“I think you have to expect people will talk about it, but I doubt people will put any more pressure on him to do well than he puts on himself,” he added.
“I think either at £80m or £8m; he will just want to play at his best. He has been not the finished article but there aren’t many who are.
“I am sure he will want to improve aspects of his game. He has been going to be eager to learn. There has been a bit more scrutiny. That will be new to him. In terms of improving, he will want to improve every aspect.
“I think it will be more about playing for Manchester United. There will be more eyes on him, more criticism and more expectation.
“When you play for a top team then you have to perform and winning isn’t always enough. I am sure he has been ready for that and relishing the challenge.
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“I remember when I went to Man City I was the same, relishing the challenge and chance to become a fixture and win trophies. I am sure with Man United’s current situation he will think the same and want to get them back to the top.
“It won’t be easy because there are a lot of teams pushing. I wish him the best as an individual but not for his team!”
Lescott was speaking from the final of the #BetRegret Cup, part of the UK’s largest safer gambling campaign. Teams from across the UK have been battling it out throughout the summer, which culminated at the national final at Powerleague Shoreditch on August 4. Bet Regret has been that immediate sinking feeling you get when you place a bet you know you shouldn’t have, for example when you’re bored, drunk or chasing losses.