It wasn’t meant to be like this when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the job as Manchester United manager permanently.
After his stunning spell as caretaker boss it looked like the Norwegian, a super sub during his playing days, had once again leapt off the bench to save the day.
A shocking end to the 2018/19 Premier League season saw them fluff their lines against relegated Huddersfield and Cardiff and, somehow, fail to qualify for the Champions League.
This campaign has started with mixed fortunes too. A thumping 4-0 win over Chelsea on the opening weekend promised much but they have since served up some terrible displays, including a defeat to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford and, most recently, their dismal loss at the hands of West Ham United.
But just what is going on? Here at talkSPORT.com we spoke to Manchester United fan and football writer Marwan Harraz to get the lowdown on the situation at Old Trafford as a crisis threatens to engulf the club.
How bad are things at Manchester United?
Pretty bad but really that’s nothing new. Everyone knew it was bad and it’s just when results are also bad that everything else comes to the surface.
To make matters worse, fans are frustrated more than ever simply because of what they’ve been through since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. No one is willing to wait for things to get better any longer as it’s been years now.
What is going wrong?
This is probably United’s main problem – there isn’t one thing going wrong but multiple things going wrong at the same time.
The board have their issues and some of the decision making has been atrocious. There’s also clearly fitness issues with the players and not in terms of looking sluggish anymore but in terms of picking up injuries.
Solskjaer can arguably be blamed for a few things such as in-game management and some tactical decisions but in truth, they’re the smallest of the problems because he’ll get better as a manager as time passes and there are more important concerns.
Is Solskjaer the right man to get things back on track?
I still feel he is. With Solskjaer there’s a long-term plan, a project.
It was always going to take time and there will be ups and downs but it’s the right path. There’s a vision and we can’t forget he’s been excellent in the transfer market with the players he brought in and even let go.
I have no doubt he wanted more players as he said publicly but it’s clear the board let him down. That can’t be placed on his door step.
Who should he be targeting in the January transfer window?
An attacking midfielder is a priority unless Solskjaer moves Pogba into the number 10 role – but then a central midfielder is needed.
A striker and a right winger would be welcome too but the January market is notoriously difficult.
In terms of specific players, James Maddison fits Solskjaer’s transfer policy but Bruno Fernandes would be an equally good investment.
When it comes to right wingers Jadon Sancho is the obvious buy but either one of Ajax’s David Neres or Hakim Ziyech would be solid investments.
In any case, for any of those positions Solskjaer’s stuck in this weird position of not knowing whether to stick or twist.
Are West Ham United and Leicester City now better than Manchester United?
Better run probably but not better otherwise. Teams always raise their game against United and it wouldn’t surprise me to see either of them lose to relegation candidates the next week. United’s squad isn’t as bad as most make it out to be.
Yes investments are needed but there’s more quality in that squad then what’s showing at the moment.
Our starting XI is good enough to get us into the top four. It’s the depth that’s a concern and with the injury crisis going on, it makes us look worse than we are.
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