By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England -Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faced intense criticism and speculation over his future after his team’s humiliating 5-0 defeat at home by Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.
United’s worst ever defeat at home to their arch-rivals killed in 90 minutes the short-lived hype that surrounded Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the club and the hopes of a title challenge that it raised.
But it also brought into the spotlight the Norwegian’s management and coaching of the team as he approaches three years in charge of the side.
While United were booed off the field at halftime, as they trailed 4-0 at the break for the first time in the Premier League era, there were no chants for Solskjaer to be fired.
But social media was much less forgiving and the British media and pundits raised the question of whether it was time for United’s owners to change manager.
Several British media reports said that Solskjaer’s position was under threat. United did not respond to a request for comment on the manager’s future with the club.
Former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher, a lead analyst on Sky Sports, said that Solskjaer could not compare to his old club’s manager Juergen Klopp, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola or Chelsea’s German boss Thomas Tuchel.
“I think Ole has done a good job but to take on Klopp, Tuchel and Pep, Manchester United need a better manager,” he said.
“I’m not comfortable saying someone should be sacked – but we are comfortable saying Fred is not good enough or Scott McTominay is not good enough so I do not feel too bad saying Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not good enough,” he added.
United have earned just one point out of the last 12 available and are already eight points behind leaders Chelsea after just nine games of the campaign.
NO INDICATION OF CHANGE
There has been no indication from United that a change of manager is imminent, however, and former captain, turned pundit, Gary Neville, said he expected Solskjaer to be given a chance to turn things around.
“I think the club will hold their nerve and I don’t think they’ve planned for another manager this season and they’ll sit with Ole until the end of the season,” he said.
“There will be a massive outcry from fans and media from everybody that he should be sacked and I can understand why after that game. It takes some recovery.”
Since the golden era of Alex Ferguson’s reign, in which United won 13 Premier League titles, ended in 2013, the club have not come close to winning the league and David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho struggled to get the team back to the top.
Solskjaer said on Sunday that he has no intention of throwing in the towel and that he was determined to battle on.
“I do believe in myself, I do believe that I am getting close to what I want with the club… of course, the results lately haven’t been good enough. But I’ve got to keep strong and I do believe in what we’ve been doing, the coaching staff and the players,” he said.
United face Tottenham Hotspur away on Saturday in the league before a midweek trip to Italy to take on Atalanta in the Champions League and then host the Manchester derby with City on Nov. 6.