After Liverpool dismantle Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer laments ‘darkest day’

The hosts simply showed an apathetic level of intensity with individual mistakes and a lack of organization that was brutally exploited by a ruthless opponent.

Solskjaer’s face during full time showed a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, almost stunned by what he had seen within the walls of Old Trafford.

“It’s not easy to say anything except that it’s the darkest day I’ve had leading these players and we weren’t good enough individually and as a team,” he said after the game, as his squad went to the dropped into seventh place in the game. Premier League, eight points behind leaders Chelsea and seven points behind Liverpool.

“You can’t give a team like Liverpool those chances, unfortunately we did. The whole performance wasn’t good enough, that’s for sure.”

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As he made his way through the tunnel, Solskjaer clapped the fans who stayed to support the team, although some had even left at halftime with Liverpool leading 4-0.

As Liverpool’s traveling support taunted Solskaer – “Ole is at the wheel” – cheers erupted from the rest of the stadium with fans furious at the team’s display.

Solskjaer will always be a legend at the club for his achievements there as a player, but there are fears his management regime could tarnish that once great legacy.

Evidence from this season’s performance shows that United are lagging far behind the competition, both tactically and mentally.

There was also a lack of discipline on Sunday — Paul Pogba was shown a red card shortly after coming on in the second half for a brash tackle on Naby Keita.

That tackle ensured that Keita, who had scored Liverpool’s first goal, was taken off on a stretcher.

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Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, Manchester City under Pep Guardiola and Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel have all excelled far above United’s level.

Those three clubs have world-class managers at the helm. All three have shown exponential growth among their managers and have won awards as a result of that coaching and leadership – United’s current form suggests Solskjaer is falling short.

“We really need to get over this as soon as possible and move on,” added Solskjaer, while remaining defiant that he is still the right man for the job.

“Obviously you’re not a robot. I’m devastated and I’m as low as I’ve ever been when I was with this fantastic football club.

“We’ve had dark days here before and we’ve always come back. I will always bounce back no matter what the situation is now.”

Liverpool celebrate after scoring their fourth goal on Sunday.

Liverpool dismantled them

United’s misery was only compounded by Liverpool’s superiority.

The visitors were everything United were not: they played with real energy, pressed together as a unit and won the ball high in United’s half.

The hosts simply couldn’t handle the pressure and made numerous mistakes to give Liverpool’s attack plenty of opportunities.

In previous games, United’s blush has been saved by a combination of a poor opponent’s finish and the brilliant form of goalkeeper David de Gea, but it was unlucky on Sunday.

Led by star man Mohamed Salah – arguably the best player in the world right now – Liverpool were ruthless.

Salah scored a hat-trick, but in reality the Egyptian probably would have had more if Klopp’s side hadn’t pulled off the gas in the second half.

“She [United] They are one of the lowest running teams in the league and easy to play against which is a poor reflection of manager, staff and players,” said former player and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville after the game.

“They have no structure to press from, they don’t run as fast as other teams and they are easy to play against. Liverpool have dismantled them.”

Cristiano Ronaldo failed to impress against Liverpool.

Uncertain future

It’s not as if Solskjaer didn’t have the support of the board.

This summer, the Norwegian bought three world-class players – Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo – and now has a squad that should at least be able to compete with the best on paper.

But for all the millions that have been spent, United remain a team of individuals that have no identity and a defense that has failed to keep a clean sheet in all competitions in the last 10 games.

In addition, Sancho has barely impressed since his big money transfer from Borussia Dortmund and Sunday’s game on the substitute’s bench. Varane, while impressive, is currently injured and Ronaldo, 36, has faced some criticism for not working hard enough on the pitch.

So lacking a working structure and organized defence, Solskjaer has often relied on magical moments to drag his side through games – a tactic that has produced at least some memorable moments.

In their final game, United trailed 2-0 behind Atalanta in a Champions League group stage match at halftime, before making a stunning comeback in the second half to win the game 3-2 — Ronaldo soared high and went as winner home.

After that match, amid the frenzy, United legend and current BT pundit Paul Scholes gave United a reality check and his comments were proven on Sunday.

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“It’s brilliant, but I remember that first half,” he said after United won on Wednesday.

“They have come back with a lot of enthusiasm, but they have been given so many opportunities. If you play against quality players, there is no way you can win that game.”

“Go do that on Sunday and see what happens.”

With many fans losing faith in Solskjaer’s ability to coach at this level, the manager faces a very uncertain future.

He must now plan to take his injured side past Tottenham and Manchester City in United’s next two league games – a frightening prospect for a team that has struggled to cope with quality players in recent weeks.

More embarrassing defeats and you feel the writing on the wall could be for Solskjaer.


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