Could it get worse for United?

It's hard to see how things could get worse

Independent

Solskjaer recognises United's problems - but can he fix them?

The good news is that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now accepts there is a problem. Previously, the Manchester United manager had met each lifeless performance and disappointing result on this run of form with an unreasonably optimistic outlook.

He declared himself "pleased" with the goalless draw in Den Haag last Thursday, in which United failed to register a shot on target. There were "lessons to learn" from the stalemate with third-tier Rochdale at Old Trafford. He was "very positive" despite the defeat at West Ham.

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Have Manchester United hit rock bottom?

By Joe Harker

Manchester United are twelfth in the Premier League after eight games, hovering just two points above the relegation zone.

They have won only twice in the league and have only scored more than one goal in a game on one occasion this season, the opening fixture against Chelsea where United won 4-0.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future is in doubt and fan ire is growing at club owners the Glazer family.

Is this rock bottom for United or could it get even worse?

The Claim:

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results then it's probably a relief for United fans to hear Solskjaer is going to try something different.

The manager is not the main cause behind United's problems, their issues are symptoms of years of being poorly run by Ed Woodward under the parasitic ownership of the Glazers, but the club hasn't been helped by certain managerial decisions.

Certain players like Andreas Pereira haven't been earning their place in the team but have kept their spot anyway. While the decline of the club has left Solskjaer with limited options there are things he can change.

While it would be easier to drop some players if there weren't so many injuries in the United squad it's at least good that the manager is acknowledging he recognises the problems and will make changes as a result.

Solskjaer will know that despite assurances from the club over his future, more results like the 1-0 loss to Newcastle United and more pitiful performances to match will spell the end of his time at Old Trafford.

The Counter Claim:

However, Matt Stead of Football 365 writes that just when you think United have hit rock bottom they find a new depth to plumb.

There are plenty of times since Sir Alex Ferguson retired where United reached a nadir so bad it ought to have been the lowest point a club of their resources and reputation could conceivably sink. It's happened too many times to think they couldn't get much worse.

David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and now Solskjaer have all had absolute stinkers of games during their tenure but the one consistent factor has been Woodward and the Glazers. The next manager will hit the exact same problems.

The issues at United are ones that have only grown worse with time. The longer the club spends in decline the bigger the issues will grow. Each time the club hit what they thought was rock bottom and fans assumed it would be the impetus for a radical shake up to finally address the underlying problems at the club.

It never happened, the manager or the club would come up with a short term solution that would paint over the cracks for a while but the problems grew deeper. It's very possible that things could get even worse from United.

The Facts:

Two wins, three draws and three defeats after eight games is nowhere near good enough for a club trying to qualify for the Champions League. United have a good defence, conceding eight league goals this season, but their pitiful attack has only scored nine.

Since Solskjaer was permanently appointed United have the fourth worst record in the Premier League, just Southampton, Brighton and Watford have done worse over the same time period.

Some eyes in the media are already turning towards potential replacements for Solskjaer, though many of the high profile candidates are currently out of a job or struggling in their current one.

It's a sign of how far United have fallen that they are a club who might struggle to entice a new manager unless they are already out of a job. There is also uncertainty over what sort of manager the club needs, as Woodward has appointed four men with radically different styles and there is no real overarching idea driving things.

A lost man never doubts a path and Manchester United are so lost that they have no idea what sort of manager they should have. It would help if they figured out how they wanted to do things before picking a manager, otherwise a cycle which has played out multiple times will begin again.

This is all of course done with an expectation that Solskjaer hasn't got long left in the job. With each manager appointed the message is the same, they need multiple seasons and multiple transfer windows to turn things around. Then each is sacked before they had the time everyone said they needed.

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football365

Man United hit rock-bottom...then just excavate further - Football365

Date published: Sunday 6th October 2019 7:09

In times like these, it is not necessarily misplaced passes or wayward shots that encapsulate the mood and the struggle, but inexplicable moments. Think Harry Kane or Phil Jones taking corners, Jose Mourinho picking fights with club physiotherapists or Steven Gerrard's bemused reaction to the substitution of Fernando Torres during a 1-1 draw against Birmingham in the final days of Rafael Benitez's reign.

Perhaps this game will be looked back on in a similar vein.

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