This week saw Manchester United experiencing another big slip-up in the Champions League. The away game at Swiss team, Young Boys, should have been United’s for the taking, but a bizarre defensive error from Jesse Lingard gave their opponents the win with the last kick of the kick.
Our match report found that it was a game that United could have easily won had they maintained their lead as a result of an early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo. However, with a bad challenge from Aaron Wan-Bissaka and that daft mistake from Lingard, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to work twice as hard to overcome the setback.
The Solskjaer question
No manager at Manchester United has felt safe since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson. Such is the prestige and size of this club that its current boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, will be feeling twice as much pressure to deliver some silverware after the Young Boys defeat.
However, most United fans are backing Solskjaer to bring the team back to better days. The ex-United player has powered the team to claim the record for the greatest number of away matches unbeaten in the Premier League. Plus the arrival of Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho has meant that many of the bookmakers featured at https://www.playersbest.com/ are now giving United some of the shortest odds for glory that they’ve had in years.
It’s been a fairly rapid transformation for Solskjaer who has had to earn the respect of the fans the hard way. But with Manchester United having lost seven of their 11 Champions League games under the Norwegian manager, it is starting to raise real questions about whether Solskjaer has what it takes to guide the team to the highest level.
Solskjaer was never meant to be a long-term solution to Manchester United’s managerial position. He was only brought into the role after Jose Mourinho got the sack. While there is no denying that Solskjaer has managed to steady the ship, another Champions League disappointment could see the manager getting his marching orders.
How will United respond?
The defeat by Young Boys will have certainly punctured the good mood that has been permeating Old Trafford ever since Ronaldo rejoined the club. The 4-1 win over Newcastle United was played in almost a carnival atmosphere with hundreds of fans staying at the stadium for hours after the final whistle.
It was all a far cry from the bitter anger seen at Old Trafford after the European Super League fallout just a couple of months ago, and it’s a testament to just how quickly emotions can change in the world of Manchester United.
The defeat will be particularly unfortunate for Lingard after he scored his way back into Solskjaer’s good books with a sweet goal against Newcastle. But above all, it’s the bitter fact that United simply didn’t kill the game off with a second goal that will be most disappointing.
After all, this is a team with forwards like Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford in their ranks. While not all of these players were fit for the Young Boys match, it does raise the question of what else Solskjaer needs to ensure they progress in the Champions League.
Although Manchester United managed just two shots against Young Boys, any team with the likes of Ronaldo in their side won’t take such a defeat lying down. As such, Sunday’s Premier League match against West Ham United will be hugely important.