Another poor away day showing for Manchester United heaped more pressure on boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he saw his side fall to a 2-0 defeat at The London Stadium. A tepid performance from the majority of his players was worsened by the fact that Marcus Rashford was forced off with a groin injury on the hour mark. Meaning that United were forced to play Jesse Lingard in the number 9 position as they tried to deny West Ham a victory that in truth the home side fully deserved.
Andriy Yarmalenko’s precise first half strike was bettered by Aaron Cresswell’s brilliant set piece as West Ham moved up to the heady heights of joint third with Leicester and Arsenal. As for United, a truly lacklustre first half showing improved in the first fifteen minutes of the second half before Rashford’s injury derailed their hopes of claiming a positive result in the capital. Rashford’s injury means that at present teenager Mason Greenwood is the club’s only fit striker, and even he couldn’t make the squad for Sunday’s game due to illness! When it rains it pours.
As after just six premiership games Ole’s position as a manager of the club is already being questioned by some United fans, with their frustrations dominating the Sunday night radio phone ins/Twitter reaction. In fairness to Ole’s critics, since his sides’ historic Champions League last sixteen win in Paris in March, Manchester United have won just five times in nineteen games. Form that is difficult to defend even for a manager who says his team are obviously in the middle of a ‘rebuilding process’.
Solskjaer’s statement is clearly true, with the former United striker attempting to reinstall some of the values that were so successful in of Alex Ferguson’s reign at the club. The signings of Daniel James, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka signified a clear shift in recruitment, with a focus on the club’s future now a priority. In the present though Solskjaer has to contend with a legion of United fans who feel they have had enough of recovering from Ferguson’s departure and want their club to be challenging at the top once more. The problem is that United are nowhere near the top of English football at the moment and will likely not be for a good few years.
As until Guardiola and Klopp decide to turn their back on the premier league, City and Liverpool will most likely continue to dominate proceedings until United, along with the other ‘top 6’ clubs sort out the issues that are currently holding them back from being title challengers or at least title pretenders. Despite constantly (and no doubt accurately) being labelled ‘one the biggest clubs in the world’ Manchester United are not the best club in the world on the pitch and haven’t been been an elite footballing side for a long, long time now. So it’s time their supporters and perhaps certain sections of the media actually accept that.
Whether Ole is good enough to improve United’s situation at present is up for debate however what is not up for discussion is the fact that it will be a long time before Manchester United, with their current squad, reach anywhere near the heights they did under Sir Alex and until those in and around the club actually take that on board, every manager that comes in; be it Ole, Zidane or Pochettino will arguably be fighting a losing battle. Solskjaer pleaded for patience after another abject league performance and it is patience he needs. Whether modern football and society will allow him that is other matter.
If you enjoyed this article or any others on thesixyardring feel free to like/share/RT them or alternatively mention them to friends as you all wonder how time much Ole will spend in the gym trying to get himself fit for Arsenal at home on MNF.