Date published: Tuesday 8th October 2019 12:44
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under severe pressure at Manchester United after a woeful run of form. Here’s what the media is reporting after a chastening few days for the Red Devils boss…
The Sun leads with the immediate fall-out form Sunday’s defeat to Newcastle. Solskjaer had little further to go after telling the players in the wake of last Monday’s draw with Arsenal that their performance was ‘crap’ and ‘none of you would have made the bench in my day’. At St James’ Park, he apparently bemoaned their ‘inability to follow the strategies they had worked on in training’ and told his stars that ‘Championship clubs were currently playing better than them’. He finished by warning the players that they ‘were embarrassing themselves and the club’. Harsh but fair.
The Daily Mail reckons Solskjaer can see the writing on the wall should his side’s miserable form continue. The manager fears the sack if United are beaten heavily by Liverpool at Old Trafford a week on Sunday and he worries that Ed Woodward will give in to the huge pressure that would surely follow further humiliation. One chink of light can be found in Chris Wheeler’s write-up: Apparently, ‘the United hierarchy are also sympathetic to the fact that Solskjaer was without eight first-team players for the trip to Tyneside on Sunday’.
The Mirror says Solskjaer’s disdain for his players is mutual. David McDonnell wrote: ‘It is understood several of United’s senior players have begun to question Solskjaer’s tactical acumen, while his claim that he “needed to sort their heads out” after the Newcastle game has not gone down well within the dressing-room.’
Since the United players have questioned the tactics of the last four managers, perhaps they might like to enlighten us as to how exactly they would like to play. On a beach, presumably.
United staff are said to be more concerned about the spirit among the players.
ESPN quotes sources at Old Trafford who are said to be concerned about the unity and togetherness of the squad. Mark Ogden’s report says that one senior player arranged for a players’ meal in Manchester last month but only five showed up, including two of the younger players in Solskjaer’s squad. Might that be the meal after the Rochdale game when Paul Pogba was hammered in the media for his non-attendance?
To be fair, you can hardly blame the stay-aways for not being in the mood to dine together at 11pm on a Wednesday night having just been taken to school by a 16-year-old and his League One team-mates.
Some players were not in the mood to attend following the nature of the win, with Rojo, Romero, Young, Pogba, Jones and Maguire absent from the meal #mulive [mail]
— utdreport (@utdreport) September 26, 2019
Speaking of Pogba, Ogden’s story suggests the want-away midfielder is not being the disruptive presence many presume: ‘Contrary to the general perception, the player’s influence has been positive behind the scenes since the summer and that his presence is missed, on and off the pitch.’