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Old 29-09-2021, 11:26 AM   #191
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Default Re: Manchester United under Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists the pressure of managing Manchester United is a 'privilege' and says he's 'here to win' as pressure mounts on him following three defeats in four games

* Manchester United are looking for a crucial win on Wednesday against Villarreal
* The Red Devils are looking to bounce back after three defeats in four matches
* Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits he was backed in the transfer market in the summer
* The United boss added that his side must learn from the Europa League final loss


Four months on from that agonising night in Gdansk and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's failure to deliver his first trophy as Manchester United manager still hangs over him.

What should have been a moment of celebration in May ended with defeat in a marathon penalty shoot-out to Villarreal and questions about Solskjaer's ability to bring back the glory days to Old Trafford. Those questions have not gone away.

One by one, Solskjaer's old teammates have warned the Norwegian that he needs tangible proof of the progress he is making or else, with Gary Neville the latest pundit to echo the thoughts of Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Teddy Sheringham.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists the pressure of managing Manchester United is a 'privilege'. United lost at home to Aston Villa at the weekend, continuing a decidedly patchy run of form

Presented with Neville's comments on the eve of tonight's rematch with Villarreal in the Champions League, Solskjaer at least took it in good heart.

'He's always got loads to say, Gary,' smiled the United manager.

'I'm used to Gary. He's always said a lot, even when I was sat next to him in the dressing-room. Just fire away.'

Solskjaer's response was to insist he has the backing of the Old Trafford board and there is nothing to suggest he is wrong in that assumption.

However, the 48-year-old also acknowledged that he is in a results business and the simple fact is that results have not been good enough of late.

United have lost three of their last four games in all competitions and are trying to avoid a third home defeat in the space of a week tonight.

Conceding a late winner to Young Boys in Switzerland a fortnight ago consigned Solskjaer to his seventh defeat in 11 Champions League games as United boss and has put a very different complexion on what looked like a straightforward Group F.

'The pressure is a privilege,' he said on Tuesday. 'To work in this environment, you have to embrace that pressure.

'If Gary says we need to win a trophy this season or next because of the backing, I have to say, yes, I have been backed.


United need a positive result after their opening Champions League loss to Young Boys

'I have to say the backing I've got seems to me that we're sticking to that plan. But we're in a results business. I'm here to win, don't think twice about that, and Gary knows that.

'He knows the DNA here at the club and what we're trying to do. Of course, I speak to Gary as well and I know that we have an obligation to win at this club and win in a certain style.

'Sometimes that's risky and you lose one or two but we'll get there. Hopefully we'll get there around April or May, challenging for the trophies we'd like to see back at Old Trafford.'

Redemption will not be easy against a Villarreal side who were a match for United in Gdansk — and for Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup last month which was also decided on penalties.

That draw and a 2-2 result against the Italians of Atalanta in the group opener means Villarreal have not lost to non-Spanish opposition in the last 26 European games.

Head coach Unai Emery is only too aware how ruthless the Premier League can be, having lasted just 18 months as Arsenal manager before his sacking in 2019, and he believes United need to show patience.

'Solskjaer has a lot of support and respect,' said Emery. 'This year he has many challenges ahead and it is true that he has had some negative results, but it wouldn't be wise for the club to change the vision they have for the head coach. I've lived that when I was at Arsenal.'

Emery will be without danger man Gerard Moreno, who scored the opening goal in the final in May, while Solskjaer's defence has been disrupted by injuries to Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka's suspension.

'It's the group stage and there are only six games,' said Solskjaer. 'You need 10 or maybe 12 points to get through and we lost three points last time.

'Atalanta and Villarreal drew so maybe a point is not good enough for them either. If you end up with zero or one point after two games, you probably need to win the last four.

'It's still not a must-win game — but it's a definitely a very important game.'

Code:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-10037293/Ole-Gunnar-Solskjaer-insists-pressure-managing-Manchester-United-privilege.html
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Old 02-10-2021, 05:17 PM   #192
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Default Re: Manchester United under Solskjaer

Cristiano Ronaldo 'tells Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Manchester United MUST move the ball quicker if they are to make the most of his talent' after lacklustre displays against Villarreal and Aston Villa

* Cristiano Ronaldo has 'made it clear that United must move the ball quicker'
* The Portuguese, 36, has scored five goals in five games upon his United return
* However, the Red Devils have put in lacklustre displays in recent weeks
* ESPN claim that Ronaldo has told Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the team must play faster


Cristiano Ronaldo has made it clear to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Manchester United must play the ball quicker if they are to make the most of his attacking talent, according to reports.

Ronaldo, 36, has hit the ground running on his return to Old Trafford this season, bagging five goals in five games including a dramatic winner against Villarreal on Wednesday night.

However, United have flattered to deceive this term, with Ronaldo unable to prevent defeats to Aston Villa and Young Boys, while the Red Devils were lacklustre against their Spanish opposition in midweek.


Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly told Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that United must play quicker. The Portuguese, 36, has bagged five goals in five games on his return to Old Trafford

And ESPN reports that the Portuguese, who sets high standards of his team-mates, has told United boss Solskjaer that the team must play at a quicker tempo in the opposition half.

Ronaldo has thus far been deployed at centre forward, with Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood operating on the wings while Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes have also featured in attacking roles.

The same outlet reports that Solskjaer and his coaching team have placed huge emphasis on United's defenders playing the ball out from the back quickly, allowing the likes of Pogba, Fernandes and Greenwood to feed Ronaldo.


However, United have put in lacklustre displays against Aston Villa, Young Boys and Villarreal

United's coaching staff believe that Raphael Varane's arrival has helped increase the team's speed of play, but Ronaldo has demanded more of his side as they bid to finally clinch silverware under the Norwegian.

Solskjaer is acutely aware of the importance of Ronaldo to his side after the Portuguese rescued three points following a lackluster display against Villarreal.

‘When you have Cristiano on the pitch you always have a chance,’ beamed the United boss on Wednesday. ‘He is so good in front of goal and has an impact on everyone – the crowd, the players, the whole club.


Solskjaer is looking to play a quicker brand of football but so far his side have been ineffective. ESPN reports that the Red Devils will continue working on quicker ball movement in training

‘He’s done that so many times. When you saw him (for Portugal) against Ireland a month ago, he missed a penalty early and didn’t touch the ball more or less, but scored two great headers in the last few minutes.

‘That's what he’s done throughout his career. He stays in the game. I’ve seen him all day, the way he’s built up for this game and when he gets that one chance it’s a goal.

‘He had a couple of half chances but a true mark of a great finisher that he keeps calm when the chance arrives.’

Code:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-10048839/Cristiano-Ronaldo-tells-Ole-Gunnar-Solskjaer-Manchester-United-ball-quicker.html
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Old 07-10-2021, 11:00 AM   #193
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Default Re: Manchester United under Solskjaer

Man United have been PATHETIC and 'don't play good football', claims ex-Liverpool star Didi Hamann... as he insists Cristiano Ronaldo is the ONLY reason they're still in the title race and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be sacked

* Manchester United have won just two of their last six games in all competitions
* However, they head into the international break just two points off the top
* Didi Hamann believes Cristiano Ronaldo is papering over cracks at the club
* Hamann has criticised boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for their inconsistent start


Manchester United have been severely criticised by Didi Hamann following their inconsistent start to the season, with the former Liverpool star claiming boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will inevitably be sacked.

Despite making major summer acquisitions including Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, United have wobbled at the start of the campaign - winning just two of their last six matches in all competitions.

Although United are still just two points off the top in the Premier League title race, Hamann believes only Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored five times in his first six games, is keeping them competitive and that Solskjaer has failed to integrate his other summer arrivals into his talent-packed squad.

'The only reason why Manchester United are still in the race for the Premier League title and doing alright in the Champions League is Cristiano Ronaldo,' the German told Sky Sports.


Manchester United have stumbled out of the blocks at the start of the Premier League season. Despite Cristiano Ronaldo making a blistering start on his return to the club, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has yet to find a correct balance in his Red Devils side

'I don't even want to know where they would be without him and his goals. It is all patchwork. Old Trafford – that used to be the Theatre of Dreams. Right now, it is more like nightmares than dreams.

'Their performance is pathetic at the moment. They just don't play good football. Sancho is way behind expectations, which I don't understand.

'With Raphael Varane, they got a player that has a lot of experience, and with Cristiano Ronaldo, they got one who knows the Premier League. I thought it would not take that long to integrate them into the team.'

Hamann's most scathing criticism though was reserved for the under fire Solskjaer.

The Norwegian has won praise for guiding United into a more positive direction since taking charge in December 2018 following a collapse in form under Jose Mourinho.

But despite an upturn in form and major transfers coming into the club during that time, he has still yet to land a major trophy. Most recently he lost the Europa League final in May, where his side were defeated on penalties by Villarreal.

Hamann believes Solskjaer is underachieving at Old Trafford and with performances and style of play also lacking, it is only a matter of time before the club dispense of his services.


Ex-Liverpool star Didi Hamann has branded United 'pathetic' and criticised their style of play. Hamann believes United should have integrated summer arrivals Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane into the squad better. With a lack of progress in terms of silverware inside three years, the pressure is on Solskjaer

'I believe the pressure on the manager will grow a lot,' Hamann added.

'It is only a matter of time when – not if – they sack him because he has been there for too long, and you don't see any progress.

'They still play the same football that is not good to watch. That is not Manchester United. I think there will be a change of manager soon.

'Whether the new manager will be able to utilise their entire potential, we will have to see. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not capable of that right now.'

Code:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-10064237/Manchester-United-pathetic-according-former-Liverpool-star-Didi-Hamann.html
semoga setelah international break dan kembalinya Rashford ke tim menambah daya gedor United, jadi tidak hanya bergantung kepada CR7
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Old 11-10-2021, 10:43 AM   #194
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Default Re: Manchester United under Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 'has no plan and no identity' for his expensively-assembled Manchester United team, says Holland assistant Danny Blind - as he assesses a side 'based on individual qualities' who 'struggle to be dominant'

* Manchester United have won just two of their last six games in all competitions
* Danny Blind feels Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not have a tactical plan for the team
* The Dutchman thinks United are too passive and don't create enough chances
* He believes that Cristiano Ronaldo's presence has disrupted the side's balance


Danny Blind has ripped into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, claiming the Norwegian's Manchester United side lack identity and are far too passive.

The Red Devils began the season with 10 points from 12 in the Premier League as they swatted aside the likes of Leeds and Newcastle. However, they have won just two of their six matches since then in all competitions, including two defeats and a draw in their last four games at Old Trafford.

Blind, father of former United midfielder Danny and now in his second spell as Holland assistant coach under Louis van Gaal, has been less than impressed and offered a withering assessment of Solskjaer's ability to make the team gel.

'What is the identity of this team? What is his plan?' he asked. 'It is exactly that what is missing with Solskjaer.

'There is not a tactical plan. His team are not able to put pressure on their opponents like Manchester City.

'It does not always have to be full pressing, but we don't see any of it – everything in the United team is based on the individual qualities of players.

'They have those qualities and it often gets a result for the team. But it is never a team result. It has not been looking good in a number of matches. United struggle to be *dominant – that is the whole problem.'


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has faced questions after just two wins in his last six matches in charge. Holland assistant coach has savaged Manchester United's boss for lacking a clear strategy. United's most recent match saw them throw away a lead against Everton at Old Trafford

This lack of cohesion could be seen most recently in the frustrating 1-1 draw with Everton, as Anthony Martial's firmly struck opener was cancelled out when a swift counter-attack was finished off by Andros Townsend as the hosts struggled to impose themselves on the Toffees.

Blind continued: 'After they took the lead against Everton, they started to wait for them in their own half.

'They want to score on the counter, but that is not good enough for a club like Manchester United.

'The next thing that you see is how they struggle to turn the game around when Everton equalised. They hardly created any chances.

'The results are not good. They lost against Young Boys, against West Ham in the cup, against Aston Villa and they were lucky against Villarreal because of Ronaldo's quality. Against Everton, *another draw. And they only just got away with that result. It has to improve and it can improve.'

Solskjaer's association with the club stretches back to 1996, when he was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson.

The striker went on to score 126 goals in 366 games, including a dramatic winner in the 1999 Champions League final as he also picked up six Premier League titles and two FA Cups.

Solskjaer returned to The Theatre of Dreams in December 2018 as caretaker manager following Jose Mourinho's sacking, before being appointed permanent boss the following summer.

However, his time at the helm has been up and down and he has yet to win a trophy in charge of the English giants.

Blind certainly believes that Solskjaer's standing at United has bought him time during difficult periods.


The Red Devils lost at home to Aston Villa and West Ham prior to drawing with the Toffees. Solskjaer's side also came unstuck against Young Boys and only just squeaked past Villarreal. Solskjaer has failed to win a major trophy since his first match in charge of United in 2018. Blind believes Cristiano Ronaldo's lack of off-the-ball running is proving an issue for the team. Blind feels Solskjaer shouldn't be replaced yet though despite a surprising number of defeats

'We cannot say that Solskjaer has had a long career at [the] top level as a manager before United.

'Yes, he was a champion in Norway. But that is a *different level. I know why he gets more time than other coaches, he is a child of the club.

'He scored that legendary goal in 1999 which helped them win the Champions League. But all that is not enough for what is being produced right now.'

Blind also believes that the sensational return of Cristiano Ronaldo has upset the balance of the team.

'You are not going to change Cristiano anymore in his thinking and his *approach to the game.

'So Solskjaer will have to come up with a playing style for his team where Cristiano can still flourish and the team can still put their opponent under pressure.

'Cristiano has come back and scored some important goals, but his presence in the team requires a different way of thinking tactically.

'Normally, you would expect that the striker is the first man to chase the defenders of the opposition.

'He will run from one *defender to the other. But the team has lost its orientation. They are not in a confident structure now Ronaldo is up front.'

However, Blind added: 'Whatever you think of Solskjaer as a manager, this is not the moment to change.

'They are not way behind in the Premier League [they are just two points behind leaders Chelsea], but they have lost more games than you would expect.'

United's next three games after the international break see them face Leicester and Liverpool in the league either side of a crucial home match against Atalanta in Europe.

Code:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-10077171/Daley-Blinds-father-Danny-tears-Ole-Gunnar-Solskjaer-Manchester-Uniteds-lack-identity.html
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Old 15-10-2021, 12:55 PM   #195
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Default Re: Manchester United under Solskjaer

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes says under-fire boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has earned the right to see out the season despite their patchy form

* Pressure is mounting on under-fire Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
* Club endured a rocky start in the Champions League after Carabao Cup exit
* Scholes believes United should stick with him until at least the end of the season


Paul Scholes says Manchester United should stick with under-fire boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer until at least the end of the season.

The Red Devils splashed out over £100million in the summer on a lavish recruitment drive which saw them bring back superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, but they have struggled during the early stages of this season.

Man United crashed out the Carabao Cup in the third round before the international break in a major blow to their trophy aspirations, and have also endured a rocky start to their Champions League group.

There have been mounting calls for Solskjaer to leave.

But Scholes, who won 11 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues at United between 1993 and 2003, told Sky Sports' live fan debate The Overlap: 'I think he deserves a chance.

'If you think about the last three or four years about where United had been, it has been shocking, hasn't it? It had not been great to watch before he came.


Pressure is mounting on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Manchester United's stuttering start. Paul Scholes believes United should stick with Solskjaer until at least the end of the season

'It has took him two or three years to build a squad where we think the pieces are there to the puzzle, it's just getting them in that right organisation.

'There was a lot of excitement at the start of the season after four or five games; they beat Newcastle (4-1) and beat Leeds (5-1) and the last two games [Villa and Everton] have been disappointing.

'But I think he deserves a chance. He has built a squad where he should be given a year, at least this season, to show that he can manage that and win trophies.'

Code:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-10094381/Manchester-United-legend-Scholes-says-Solskjaer-earned-right-season.html
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Old 15-10-2021, 01:04 PM   #196
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Default Re: Manchester United under Solskjaer

Gary Neville insists Ole Gunnar Solskjaer MUST 'compensate' for Cristiano Ronaldo's lack of work-rate as he calls on boss to find the right 'balance' in his team amid fears Manchester United's start has been 'WORSE than it looks'

* Gary Neville believes that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must compensate for Ronaldo
* The 36-year-old has made a flying start to life back at Old Trafford this season
* However, United have offered lacklustre displays and are prone to the counter
* Neville says Solskjaer must find the right 'balance' for his United side
* He also expressed fears that the club's start has been 'worse than it looks'


Gary Neville believes that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must 'compensate' for Cristiano Ronaldo's weaknesses if Manchester United are to challenge for the title, as the pundit called on the Norwegian to find the right 'balance'.

Expectations at United have skyrocketed following the 36-year-old's sensational £19.8million return to Old Trafford this summer, with fans hopeful that his relentless goalscoring record can propel the club to the Premier League title.

While Ronaldo has hit the ground running with five goals in seven games, United have often looked lacklustre and entered the international break taking just one point from home games against Aston Villa and Everton.


Gary Neville says that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must find a solution to 'compensate' for Ronaldo. The 36-year-old has made a flying start to life back at United, scoring five goals in seven games

And Neville, who maintains that United were correct to bring Ronaldo back to the club, says that Solskjaer must find the right 'balance' to 'compensate' for Ronaldo's lack of pressing from the front and take a leaf out of Sir Alex Ferguson's book.

'They had to do the deal, the club had to do the deal, Ole had to do the deal,' he said on Sky Bet's The Overlap Fan Debate. 'With it comes big positives, but with it also comes problems.

'Ronaldo had to be managed, shall we say, in the 2008 Barcelona semi-final, away from home, Cristiano Ronaldo was shoved up front on his own, [Wayne] Rooney and Ji-Sung Park were shoved wide and [Carlos] Tevez was brought back onto [Sergio] Busquets. Because you couldn’t carry him in the big games because generally he doesn’t work hard enough.


However, United have offered lacklustre displays and have won one point from two games. Neville says that United boss Solskjaer must find the right 'balance' in his United side

'He is playing up front there now, you are never going to press from the front. The idea that Manchester United are going to be a pressing team is never going to happen, he wasn’t pressing 10 or 15 years ago.

'So then you say what is the style of Manchester United? Are they a counter attack team? That becomes difficult when you are playing against teams that are inferior to you most of the time.

'What you get is teams like Aston Villa and Everton counter attacking, bit of quality, a half decent team against Manchester United will cut through them. That is a problem. So they have got to stop that.'

Neville added that Solskjaer has 'big decision' to make to address this issue, with big games against Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City fast approaching.


He pointed to the hard-working players surrounding Ronaldo from his first spell at United. The pundit added that Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes cannot do the same job. Neville also fears that United's start to the season has been 'worse than it looks on paper'

'There is big decisions that Ole has to make in the next few weeks to compensate for Ronaldo coming. What they have to find now is a way of playing with Ronaldo in there.

'I support the signing, he is a great… I love him to bits, I couldn’t love him any more, but United have to find a way of playing to compensate him.

'If you then put Bruno Fernandes in there, you then put Mason Greenwood in there, you then put Paul Pogba in there, with Cristiano you are going to get cut through on the counter attack and you aren’t winning any leagues. Trust me you aren’t winning any leagues. So there has got to be a balance to the team.'

United currently sit fourth in the Premier League ahead of their trip to Leicester this weekend, two points adrift of leaders Chelsea. Despite being within touching distance of Thomas Tuchel's side, Neville believes that United's start to the season is 'worse than it looks'.

'My fear for Ole is, the start of the season is worse than it looks,' he said. 'At the moment you look at the league and you think “they are two points off the top” but they haven’t played a single team.

'I have not watched United live this season because I have been doing all the other games, Liverpool have played top teams, Chelsea have played top teams, City have played top teams, they have all played each other.

'United haven’t kicked a ball against a top team. They now have four games against the top six teams in the next month or so and I fear that… look, they do sometimes deliver in these games, but I fear that the start of the season is worse than it is on paper.'

Code:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-10092657/Gary-Neville-claims-Ole-Gunnar-Solskjaer-compensate-Cristiano-Ronaldo.html
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Old 18-10-2021, 10:49 AM   #197
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Default Re: Manchester United under Solskjaer

Ole's wheels have fallen off: Solskjaer's support starts to splinter as 'hope for the best' tactics come up woefully short in Manchester United's defeat at Leicester

* Manchester United lost 4-2 to Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday
* The Red Devils haven't won in three and sit five points off the top of the table
* Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is coming under more pressure by the day


Before this thrilling but ultimately one-sided game, both teams had been struggling for form.

Leicester had not won a game of note since August. Manchester United had lost three of their last six.

Brendan Rodgers did what he always does in these situations and went back to the training ground and worked hard to find a fix.

‘We had a lot of work to do in the international break to fix the team and get the vibe and mentality back again,’ said the Leicester manager.

‘I wanted to take myself back into almost being in my first match again. I had to think: “What do I say to them?”.

‘We spoke to the players and tried to be tactically better in the game. But most of it is emotional. We were way too passive in other games this season.

‘We are at our best when we are aggressive and a horrible team to play against.

‘So we’re fixing it, filling the gaps at the back, getting our speed back in the side and getting us pressing synchronised as a team again.’

Rodgers is a tracksuit coach, happiest out on the grass. His personality and his preferred way of playing were visible as United were rolled over at the King Power. Change the playing strip and it could have been his Celtic, his Liverpool or even his Swansea out there.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under huge pressure following Manchester United's latest defeat

But what of United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? What of him do we see in his team? What patterns do we recognise? What habits?

Sadly, only negative ones. His United side — crammed full of talented attacking players — do not have cohesion or method or a readily identifiable DNA.

They continue to look like a team playing and making decisions on the hoof, hoping that when things start to go wrong — as they often do — somebody such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Bruno Fernandes or Mason Greenwood can drag them out of a hole.

Often it happens. At West Ham it was a late individual goal from Jesse Lingard followed by David de Gea’s penalty save. Three points. At Wolves it was Greenwood with a cracker with 10 minutes to go. Three more. Against Villarreal at home in the Champions League it was Ronaldo in stoppage time. Another victory.

It can be exciting and uplifting but it does not represent method or a direction of travel. As such it cannot be relied upon to get a team through a season. It simply cannot last.

So at Leicester on Saturday the wheels of Solskjaer’s Ferrari fell off. This time United got what they deserved: a sound beating dispensed by a better team, a side playing to a plan and looking to exploit clear weaknesses.


Cristiano Ronaldo and Co had no answer for Leicester at the King Power Stadium. United were well beaten and have now failed to win any of their last three league matches

Afterwards — while Rodgers examined publicly the recent issues with his team — Solskjaer spoke in cliches about winning 50-50 balls and switching off at set-pieces. He talked about how his team have been working hard in training. At one point he apologised for ‘rambling on’.

But there was no detail, nothing to convince anybody that permanent and constructive improvement may be forthcoming. Solskjaer identifies problems that anyone can see but what he rarely does is offer or provide solutions and that continues to be United’s problem.

Next up for his team in the Premier League is a meeting with Liverpool on Sunday.

Mo Salah and Co will be salivating.

After that, four of the next five domestic games pit United against Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

If they do not improve on recent efforts then the backing Solskjaer continues to receive from the Old Trafford board may start to splinter. Among sections of the club’s support, it is already in pieces.

Saturday’s problems were clear. United’s defending was poor and Solskjaer admitted that Harry Maguire probably should not have been selected on the back of limited training.

Their midfield holding duo of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic had all the steadfastness of a kitchen sieve and, at the top, Ronaldo contributed absolutely nothing.

Apart from all that, United were absolutely fine.

Is Ronaldo a problem? Not yet but he could be. His goalscoring contribution has already been valuable but when he does not find the net he looks like a passenger, his lack of running and front-line defending simply asking more of players already struggling around him.

Asked about this afterwards, Rodgers was diplomatic. He said Ronaldo these days is a ‘different kind of player’ than he used to be.

We all knew what he meant and once again it comes back to coaching. United knew what they were getting when they re-signed Ronaldo in August and it is Solskjaer’s job to now accommodate such a unique individual in his team.

Rodgers is the type of coach who would find a way. Solskjaer is more of a close-your-eyes-and-hope-for-the-best type.

United actually took the lead on Saturday. Greenwood’s long-range goal was special.

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Old 19-10-2021, 11:19 AM   #198
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Default Re: Manchester United under Solskjaer

We should know what an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer side looks like by now. That we don't makes for wonderful theatre, but his cast of talented players may be tiring of improv

* When Manchester United go down, star Paul Pogba tends to go down, too
* Yet he's right that for such an experienced group, they can look very naïve
* The last seven games for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have brought just two wins
* Teams such as Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea can usually be relied upon
* But without a badge, United would look like 11 players trying to make it work


Here's the crux of it with Paul Pogba. Just because he played like a drain against Leicester doesn't mean he's wrong about Manchester United.

When United go down, Pogba tends to go down, too. It's not the best look from a player who was supposed to be a catalyst for improvement, a problem solver in the heart of midfield. Yet he's different for France. He was different for Juventus. Maybe he had better direction.

For Pogba to come out after a damaging, four-goal defeat on Saturday and criticise the performance almost as if he wasn't part of it, invites ridicule.

'There's going to be pressure on us,' he said. 'We need to be mature and play with more experience and arrogance, but in a good way. We need to change. We've been playing these kind of games for a long time and haven't solved the problem, conceding easy, stupid goals.'


Paul Pogba (L) played like a drain against Leicester but it doesn't mean he's wrong about Manchester United. For Pogba to criticise the performance almost as if he wasn't part of it, invites ridicule

And whose fault is that, the chorus asks? Soft goals don't just start with defensive errors. Often, the reason an opponent is in on goal is because mistakes are being made further up the field. Play isn't being closed down, individuals aren't working hard enough. Pogba cannot talk as if he is apart from these issues.

Yet he's right that for such an experienced group — 532 international caps in the starting XI alone at Leicester — Manchester United can look frighteningly naive.

Basically, they can be anything. Liverpool versus Atletico Madrid is the best match of this week's Champions League group games, but the potential for drama is at Old Trafford against Atalanta, where two sixth-placed teams meet because who knows which Manchester United will turn up?


Look at United's last seven games. They have won just two and have recorded four losses

Look at United's last seven games. There is a home draw to Everton, and four losses to opponents they should have been strong enough to beat: Leicester, Aston Villa, Young Boys and West Ham in the Carabao Cup. That leaves two wins.

One came with the latest winning goal United have ever scored in Europe, at home to Villarreal, the other required, not just an 89th-minute winner from substitute Jesse Lingard, but for West Ham to miss a penalty with the last kick of the match.

And all teams ride their luck — even the best ones. Bayern Munich were the better side for Manchester United's first Champions League win under Sir Alex Ferguson, and the second came down to John Terry's penalty miss for Chelsea. United's resilience in adversity in those days was as admirable as the many, many times they swept opponents off the park.

There will always be upsets but Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea — they can usually be relied upon. We know what they are about.

Liverpool's last seven games include two 3-0 wins over Crystal Palace and Norwich, a 5-1 victory in Porto and 5-0 against Watford. There are tight matches with Manchester City and AC Milan, understandably, and a complete tear-up with Brentford. A few are going to have those this season.

Manchester City are not much different. Their last seven games have brought matches against Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool — a win, a loss and a draw — but that's elite football. The rest have been comfortable victories — RB Leipzig, Wycombe and Burnley — and the wobble of a goalless draw to Southampton.

Chelsea lost to Manchester City and Juventus, which can happen, but won against Zenit St Petersburg, Tottenham, Southampton and Brentford, and progressed on penalties against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup.

But in all of those games, win, lose or draw, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea played in a way that was recognisably theirs, that looked as if it had been drilled into them. They could ditch their colours and play in plain white T-shirts, and it would still be recognisable as the work of Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel.

That's not true of United. They are yet to face a single team that was part of the proposed Super League breakaway, or would ever have been invited to join. And without knowing this is Manchester United, without the identity of colours or a badge, they would just look like 11 talented players trying to make it work.

United's last convincing scoreline was 4-1 against Newcastle on September 11. Yet Newcastle played better than the outcome suggests; it was level with 28 minutes to go and the difference was the gulf in individual ability.

Players are why Manchester United are still just a point off the Champions League spots, and only Liverpool have outscored them this season. Throw enough money at a problem, and you get good players. Throw enough good players at a football match, and you may well win. Yet the strategy is missing and Pogba's assessment, for all his faults, was truthful.

'We need to find the right mentality and tactic,' he concluded. But those attributes are set by the manager. We should know what an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer side looks like by now. That we don't makes for wonderful theatre. Yet, increasingly, the cast may be tiring of improv.

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Old 19-10-2021, 11:25 AM   #199
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Default Re: Manchester United under Solskjaer

'As soon as Ronaldo comes in, Pogba has to play centre midfield': Man United's tactical problems are down to the signing of Portuguese superstar, insists Jamie Carragher... who says Solskjaer 'CAN'T play five attacking players'

* Manchester United’s form has been patchy despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s return
* They are sixth in the Premier League following Saturday's defeat at Leicester
* Jamie Carragher says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team do not appear to have a plan


Jamie Carragher says that Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United has compounded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s problems at Old Trafford.

The Portuguese superstar's shock return to United in August was greeted with delight by fans and former players.

But despite his hot streak in front of goal, Manchester United’s form has been patchy and they currently are sixth in the Premier League following Saturday's 4-2 defeat at Leicester City.

And Carragher says Solskjaer's team do not appear to have a plan.


Man United’s form has been patchy despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s hot streak in front of goal. Jamie Carragher says that Ronaldo has compounded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s problems. Carragher says United will not win the Premier League or Champions League with Solskjaer

Speaking on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, he said: 'You can't play five attacking players, you can't.

'Pogba's got to come out of central midfield. He's playing there and it comes back to the Ronaldo signing.

'As soon as Ronaldo comes in, Pogba has to play centre midfield to fit all the players in. I'm not saying (Pogba) should be out the team, but he's not a centre midfield in a United shirt.

'What does Ole do? What's your idea? I don't see it in terms of a plan. If you're going to press, everyone presses. Are they a high pressing team? Not really, not with Ronaldo in the team. This (lack of intensity) wouldn't be accepted with a Pep or Klopp or Tuchel team. It's both (a manager and a players problem).

'Ole will not win a league title or a Champions League at Manchester United. Ole hasn't got the experience.

'This team is a good team, a great collection of individuals.

'Manchester United need to have a better manager, they need a manager who can compete with other big teams in the league.'

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Old 19-10-2021, 12:25 PM   #200
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Default Re: Manchester United under Solskjaer

Chucking away points, defensive mishaps, carrying Cristiano Ronaldo and no coherent game plan... Problems are already piling up for Man United and Solskjaer ahead of a daunting set of fixtures

* Manchester United slumped to another defeat at Leicester City on Saturday
* The problems continue to mount for under-pressure boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
* United have won only two of their last seven matches in all competitions
* They were once again guilty of throwing away points at the King Power Stadium
* Cristiano Ronaldo was a passenger while Jadon Sancho continues to struggle
* Leicester game marked just the start of a daunting run of fixtures for United


There was a point during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's post-match press conference at Leicester on Saturday when he lost his train of thought and apologised for 'rambling on'.

His words had become incoherent, rather like his lacklustre Manchester United team as they crashed to a 4-2 defeat at only the beginning of a brutal run of fixtures.

While Leicester had a clear and effective game plan which their opponents simply couldn't cope with, United were listless and this time weren't bailed out by one of their superstars.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts after Manchester United went down 4-2 to Leicester on Saturday. It was another lacklustre performance by a United side struggling for cohesion and identity


United's second loss of the Premier League season left them sixth, already trailing their rivals

It only ratchets up the pressure on Solskjaer as his United side, for all their hundreds of millions of pounds of investment, clearly remain some distance behind Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Ed Woodward and the club's hierarchy will continue to insist that Solskjaer, who agreed a new contract only in July, will not be sacked. The official stance is that they still trust in the club legend's process.

Whether that remains the case if United fail to get anything from upcoming matches against Atalanta (twice), Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, Watford, Villarreal and Chelsea is open to question.

After another sorry weekend, we analyse some of the major problems that Solskjaer needs to get a handle on if he is to steady the ship at Old Trafford.

Tossing away leads

Solskjaer has made a big play about restoring some of United's traditions and standards with the occasional late smash-and-grab winner suggesting he has restored that Fergie-style insistence the team plays right until the final whistle.

But one recurring theme is the complete inverse of United tradition - the fact 38 points have been dropped from winning positions in almost three years under Solskjaer.

It happened again on Saturday with United taking the lead thanks to Mason Greenwood's 19th-minute goal, an advantage that lasted just 12 minutes.

They also managed to haul themselves level at 2-2 thanks to Marcus Rashford, only for Jamie Vardy to restore Leicester's lead a mere 54 seconds later.


Harry Maguire reacts after his error led to Youri Tielemans chipping Leicester into the lead

It certainly could be worse - in the same time span, Tottenham have dropped 50 points after leading and Arsenal also 38.

But nobody would consider either of them to currently be title challengers. Chelsea have dropped 32, Man City 31 and Liverpool 28 during the same period.

It might not seem a huge margin but in a close title race, such lapses in concentration could easily be the difference between winning the trophy and finishing second.

Solskjaer will need to hammer home to his players again that they must remain completely switched on at all times. Conceding immediately after scoring is one of the biggest crimes a football team can commit.

It took only one diagonal pass from the back out wide, one horrendously reckless tackle from Aaron Wan-Bissaka, one little touch on to Ayoze Perez in behind and one cut-back for Jamie Vardy to spear the ball home.

There was no way back for United from there and it followed them throwing away leads in matches against Young Boys and Everton already this season.

It was the same story at Leicester last season, likewise against Liverpool, Fulham, Everton, Tottenham and others. Something needs to change.

Defensive errors

United's players have committed seven errors that have led to their opponents having a shot on goal so far this season. This is the joint-highest in the Premier League with Wolves.

It partially explains why Solskjaer's side have kept just one clean sheet so far (away to Wolves). By contrast Man City have kept six in the league so far, Chelsea and Liverpool five apiece.

Harry Maguire, rushed back into the team by Solskjaer despite clearly not being fully fit, was at fault for Leicester's equaliser after Kelechi Iheanacho whipped the ball off his toes as he waited for a David de Gea pass.

Maguire was also left looking like a statue as Patson Daka peeled off him to tap home Leicester's late fourth goal. It did make you wonder why Maguire was risked when Eric Bailly was warming the bench.


Maguire wasn't in shot as Patson Daka lost him at a free-kick to tap home Leicester's fourth. United's skipper didn't look fully fit having just returned to the side after an ankle injury

Paul Pogba didn't exactly spare his team-mates post-match when he said: 'We have not found the problem, conceding easy goals, stupid goals.'

It comes as a blow to Solskjaer that £41million summer signing Raphael Varane is sidelined with a groin injury during this tough set of fixtures.

The France international needs to forge his central defensive partnership with Maguire and now this will take even longer, with Victor Lindelof back in the team.

At least Lindelof and Maguire understand one another but both have weaknesses that can cost United dear. Maguire looked sluggish against his old club, ruffled by Leicester's ferocious pressing. Lindelof lacks authority in the air.

The mistakes need to be cut out of United's game otherwise they'll continue to be punished by good opponents.

Reliance on individuals

Brendan Rodgers took the Leicester job some three months after Solskjaer came in at United. In that time, Leicester have twice missed out on the Champions League by agonisingly thin margins but won the FA Cup.

More than anything else, however, you recognise Leicester as a Rodgers side. They work relentlessly, apply pressure in packs and are clinical in taking their chances. They always have an identity and a clear game plan.

Solskjaer's United, by contrast, do not. Especially in the early stages of this season, it feels like they are reliant on certain individuals to win them games rather than the collective.

Mason Greenwood got them three points at Wolves with a late goal back in August, Jesse Lingard's strike and De Gea's penalty save got them over the line at West Ham and it needed a 96th-minute Cristiano Ronaldo special to beat Villarreal.


Jesse Lingard's late goal spared United's blushes at West Ham - but only after a penalty save

Just imagine if these goals hadn't gone in - Solskjaer really would be in the mire, both domestically and in Europe.

These goals have got them out of jail but also serve to disguise performances that are far from lucid or convincing. Worryingly, United had a fairly soft set of games to start the season. Now the real test is beginning.

With Ronaldo, Varane and Jadon Sancho all arriving over the summer and needing to settle in and with Marcus Rashford only just back from injury, there has been disruption.

But Solskjaer's United just cannot shed the sense that they remain in transition - even after three years of his management. Not quite there yet, relying on individuals, just short of being a cohesive and consistent team.

Worryingly for the manager, this was supposed to be the season when all that transition became culmination and fruition, when they finally won some silverware. But it isn't looking likely at the moment.

Ronaldo is a passenger

It's hard to dispute that Ronaldo has made an impact since returning to United back in August. Two goals against Newcastle that electrified Old Trafford, another at West Ham and two in Europe against Young Boys and Villarreal.

But shoehorning the 36-year-old star into the team has presented some headaches.

Firstly, there's the fact that Ronaldo will expect to start each and every game or else gets sulky and also demands to play centre forward, which eases out the unlucky Edinson Cavani and others.

Then there's the fact that when out of possession, Ronaldo simply doesn't do the tracking back and defensive donkey work that have become part of the modern attacker's game.

In those two Champions League games, Ronaldo covered an average of 3.7 miles - among the 72 forwards to have played in the first two matchdays of the group phase, only five covered less ground.

Even Lionel Messi, another player not exactly renowned for tenacious defensive pressing, covered an average of 5.3 miles, while his PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe ran 5.5.

Now, obviously, Ronaldo does have to be in the optimal positions to score and create chances at all times but it puts strain on his team-mates to always be carrying him when under pressure.

The midfielders, in particular, have needed to step up their work rate to compensate and it is a bit baffling how someone so fit doesn't cover more ground.


Cristiano Ronaldo is a match-winner but he refuses to cover the ground or work defensively. Ronaldo struggled to make much of an impression as Leicester's defenders kept him covered

In poor performances such as Saturday's, when Ronaldo contributed next to nothing going forward, it just makes it look worse.

It has been ever thus with Ronaldo though - he was criticised at Real Madrid for not getting back and Gary Neville reminded everyone that it was the same during his first United spell.

'In 2008, Ji-Sung Park, Darren Fletcher and Owen Hargreaves, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez, they all worked like trojans to make up for Cristiano in terms of what he was doing,' Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast recently.

'You're almost carrying a player when you're out of possession. But you forgive that because of his greatness and his ability to win games.'

That will almost certainly remain the case but it's just given Solskjaer another problem to solve.

Midfield mess

Rarely has United's urgent need for a top class holding midfielder been more exposed than at Leicester on Saturday.

Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba were just bypassed all afternoon, unable to get a grip in the key areas and link defence with attack.

Both were anonymous as Leicester swarmed United and they did that even without the excellent Wilfred Ndidi, currently out with a hamstring injury.

Pogba started the season brilliantly but we never really know whether he wants to play on the left side of the attack, where he has often been effective, or in central midfield.


Nemanja Matic (right) just wasn't able to gain control of the midfield battle against Leicester


Paul Pogba (left) and Bruno Fernandes (right) both struggled to make much of an impression

Matic, at 33, unfortunately looks unable to stand the pace of a Premier League skirmish any more, while Fred has never looked a United class midfielder.

Scott McTominay came on late on when he probably should have started instead of Matic and all the while Donny van de Beek warms the bench in bewilderment. Still only the six Premier League minutes for him this season.

What Solskjaer would do for an Ndidi, let alone a N'Golo Kante, in his midfield. Or a Declan Rice or Kalvin Phillips type figure to anchor things and allow Pogba to do his thing going forward without fear of being hopelessly overrun.

It could easily be the one missing piece of the jigsaw but unfortunately for the manager another trophyless season will probably drift by before the problem is addressed.


Donny van de Beek only got onto the pitch during the warm-ups as he was left out yet again

Sancho hasn't got going

Not every new signing is working. Jadon Sancho cost United £73m but is still without a goal or an assist in his first 10 appearances and is struggling to make any impact.

He completed 65 very average minutes at Leicester before being replaced by the returning Rashford, who scored 15 minutes or so later. With Greenwood also a very able wide attacker, Sancho may well lose his place soon.

In 299 Premier League minutes for United, Sancho has created just eight chances and had only 18 touches in the opposition box, which seems remarkably low even for a wide player.


£73million summer arrival Jadon Sancho has struggled to make any impact for United so far. Marcus Rashford, who replaced Sancho after 65 minutes on Saturday, went on to score a goal

Naturally, he needs time to adjust to a new team and a new league after moving from Borussia Dortmund but the scrutiny will come soon and questions will be asked about his output.

To be honest, Sancho is fortunate most of the attention has been on Ronaldo since the summer, which has allowed some of his sub-par displays to go under the radar.

It's unlikely such a gifted player will be down for too long and his first United goal could easily spark a flood. But he just hasn't got going yet and needs to rediscover his spark.

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