The pressure continues to grow on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Manchester United suffered a humiliating defeat to rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford. Four first-half goals from Naby Keita, Diogo Jota, and a double from Mohamed Salah put Liverpool in dreamland.
Salah claimed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half to make it 5-0. Paul Pogba, on as a second-half sub, got sent off for a two-footed challenge on Keita to compound a miserable day for Manchester United.
Boos rang around Old Trafford at half time and full time. This was one of the most miserable displays from a Manchester United side in this famous fixture.
Solskjaer Has to go After Liverpool Thrashing
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Time Surely Up
The pressure has been mounting on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over the last few weeks after a run of three Premier League defeats in four games. However, the manner of this defeat and the first-half performance in particular, surely means his time as manager of Manchester United is up.
United were a complete and utter disgrace. Defensively appalling, no organisation, and ripped apart far too easily. Their defensive performance was best summed up by the poor communication between Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw which contributed to Liverpool’s second goal.
The biggest damning stat is that United are last in tackles made in the Premier League this season. That quite frankly is horrendous. It shows a lack of hunger, desire, and pride to defend properly. Another damning stat is Manchester United have had just one clean sheet in 21 games.
There was no organisation and United half-heartedly decided to go with a high press. Liverpool picked them off so easily and didn’t even have to get out of first gear.
Solskjaer’s time is surely up. He survived another embarrassing defeat when United lost to Tottenham Hotspur 6-1 at Old Trafford, however, this is different. This was a mauling against their big rivals and that is why he has to go now.
Solskjaer has done a good job in terms of bringing a positive atmosphere around the dressing room and improved the quality of players now at the club. But he hasn’t managed to get the best out of them. When United signed the likes of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo expectations were high.
However, it hasn’t happened. United don’t have a structure, identity of how they want to play and Solskjaer still doesn’t know his best team. After three years in the job that isn’t good enough.
Manchester United Players Have to Step Up
The first half performance wasn’t exclusively down to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactics, the players have to accept responsibility.
For Liverpool’s opening goal, Mason Greenwood and Aaron Wan-Bissaka went rushing out trying to press and then left a gaping hole in behind.
For the second goal, there was no communication between Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw. And for Liverpool’s fifth Paul Pogba gave the ball away in midfield and then one pass later, Mo Salah was away to score his hat-trick.
Too many players are making individual errors and when you do that against a top team you will get punished. Paul Pogba also showed complete indiscipline by jumping in two-footed and being sent off after just being on the pitch for 15 minutes having come on as a second-half sub.
One of the biggest worries for Manchester United fans is the lack of leaders in the dressing room. There is nobody shouting, getting the team organised and in their defensive shape. Some of the players went into hiding, especially when the fourth goal went in. Too many are playing as individuals and not as a team.
Huge Test of Character for Manchester United and Solskjaer
The next week will be a huge test of character for these Manchester United players. Some have been through this painful experience before. When Manchester United lost 6-1 to Tottenham, they ended up going on a run of just one league defeat in their next 16 league games.
But this seems different. This was a demoralising defeat against their biggest rivals. When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been under pressure and on the brink of getting the sack, United have pulled together a run of results to ease the pressure on him.
This looks unlikely this time around. United’s next two Premier League games are against Tottenham Hotspur away and Manchester City at Old Trafford.
Two defeats and Ole will surely have to go before the international break. The big concern will be whether there is more pain to come for the United fans when City come calling in a few weeks time.