A 1-0 defeat against Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United on Sunday has shoved Manchester United down to 12th on the Premier League log already — a whopping 15 points below league leaders Liverpool. Now winless in five games across all competitions, having failed to score in three of the last five encounters, means the club has endured their worst start to a season for 30 years.
Given the circumstances, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now finds himself in a state of panic.
I’m not blind to the fact that Solskjaer isn’t without his faults. I just have the patience to put up with the rough because I can see he’s building the foundations for something here and he deserves a few more windows to see it through. He’s no-one’s puppet.— ♡ Anna_MUFC ♡ (@mufc_anna) October 4, 2019
Unlike in the past though, the United board was braced for an abrupt impact. They knew the rebuilding project that their former striker is tasked with won’t bear instant fruits, given that the assignment is meant for a steady progress.
“It’s important that we are patient while Ole and his team build for the future,” Ed Woodward, United’s Executive Vice Chairman, was quoted by the Telegraph. “We will continue to focus on the long-term strategy and won’t be influenced by short-term distractions.”
The fact we’re in relegation form means that this will finally be hurting the owners where it matters to them - their pockets - and I’m not going to lie there’s a certain satisfaction to that.— ♡ Anna_MUFC ♡ (@mufc_anna) October 7, 2019
Considering the recent downfall, which also appends the financial losses the club has sustained due to the lack of Champions League football, how long can the board actually afford to have patience with Solskjaer?
Unfavourable results like these will continue to mount pressure on the manager as well as the board, and the Norwegian’s cause is further hammered by the injuries to Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw.
9 - Manchester United have picked up just nine points from their opening eight Premier League matches this season (W2 D3 L3), their worst start to a league season since 1989-90 (8 points) when they went on to finish 13th. Worrying. pic.twitter.com/oV2kDjRkri— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 6, 2019
United are yet to win an away game since their 3-1 victory against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, back in March. And their road to redemption starts soon after Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford on October 20. Their away tours start from Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League, followed by Norwich and Bournemouth in the Premier League. Meanwhile, a Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea has found a way in between.
Injuries and a dip in form has made life difficult for the manager. He knows he needs new players, and to that effect, the January transfer window will be something he will keep a keen eye on. Speaking of which, a striker, a new number 10, a defensive midfielder and a full-back is expected to top his shopping cart.
Handing the ultimatum at this point of time would be harsh on the Norwegian. Unlike the previous discontent, the board needs to have a bit of fortitude and look forward to what their manager has to offer once the needed resources are fulfilled; something along the lines of what Liverpool did to perfection with Jurgen Klopp.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis