In Depth

Man Utd in turmoil: it’s Liverpool up next after the international break

Red Devils are 12th in the Premier League following the 1-0 loss at Newcastle

This week’s international break could be seen as a positive for Manchester United following another disastrous result.

However, the Red Devils may wish to have the break extended knowing that they face runaway league leaders Liverpool in their next game on 20 October.

Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle has left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side languishing 12th in the Premier League table with only nine points from eight games after just two wins so far this season.

Solskjaer feels that the international break has come at the right time for the Old Trafford club, especially with a home clash against arch-rivals Liverpool around the corner. 

The under-pressure Norwegian said of the Liverpool fixture: “That’s a perfect game for us. They will go away with their national teams, meet their team-mates and come back fresh.

“We have had a good time together, we have prepared since the first day of pre-season, we have stuck to the same principles.

“We have not got the result [against Newcastle] but we have to keep carrying on.”

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Worst start for 30 years

While Solskjaer is looking at the positives ahead of facing Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, Independent reports that the United manager does accept that his team has problems. 

The third league loss means United are experiencing their worst start to a season for 30 years and are without a win on the road for 11 matches. 

The Daily Mail says that only Southampton, Brighton and Watford have worse records than United since Solskjaer’s full-time appointment on 28 March - a “miserable return of just 17 points from 16 matches”. 

Speaking after the defeat in Newcastle, he said sorry to the fans: “[It is] very symptomatic of where we are at the moment. We don’t create enough chances to deserve to win a game of football. That’s the short version.

“I’ve got to say sorry to the fans because we’re not winning games, but that’s down to us starting a rebuild. It will take however long it takes. It’s a journey we’ve started and the culture is getting there.

“It’s my responsibility. I need to sort their heads out. Young boys lacking confidence, they need some help from experienced players and staff.”

RVP: Solskjaer is struggling

Metro reports that former United striker Robin van Persie has criticised Solskjaer and questioned if he is the right man to lead the club out of the crisis. 

Van Persie said: “You can see he’s struggling there, if I’m really honest, during that interview. And I get it if you’re manager of Manchester United during this period of time. 

“So he’s searching for words, maybe he chose a few wrong ones there. Because as a player, what does that mean, ‘sorting the players’ heads out’, what does that mean?

“If you’re a player you’re a little bit like, ‘my head is fine’. Even though you can see the players are low in confidence, he needs to find a way to reconnect again and to get their confidence high. 

“As a manager, when you’re team is low in confidence get them up, when your team is too high in confidence, when they are becoming a little bit too much, you have to get them back to the middle again. 

“At the moment, based on this interview, and based on what I’ve seen in the game, I’m not sure if he really knows how to find the buttons there.”

‘Everything is going wrong’

Another person not happy with the team’s performance is United goalkeeper David De Gea. 

The Spaniard did not hold back when asked by Sky Sports what is going wrong: “Everything. I think a lot of things need to improve. They [Newcastle] were the better team.

“I don’t know what to say, really. Just keep trying, keep fighting, keep improving every day. It’s a hard moment for us, a difficult moment, but we are United and we need to keep fighting.”

Facing the chop?

The Sun reports that Solskjaer is now “fighting to keep his job” after yet another damaging defeat. The Daily Express quotes former Arsenal defender Martin Keown who believes that the Newcastle loss is the “beginning of the end” for Solskjaer.

Keown said on Match of the Day 2: “You start to look at where the system is, where the intensity is, and I think the belief now is ebbing away. 

“I think this could be the beginning of the end for this manager. 

“I don’t want to see a former player come in and leave the job. But there has to be a spark, there has to be a reaction. It seems to be just spiralling out of control at Manchester United at the moment, that was a really poor result.”

According to TheSackRace.com Solskjaer is second favourite to become the next Premier League manager to leave their post.

Everton’s Marco Silva leads the way with Solskjaer second and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino third on the price list. 

The Sun and Ladbrokes say there are five managers who could replace Solskjaer should United decide to make a change in the hot-seat.

The five are: Pochettino, Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers, former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and England’s Gareth Southgate.

Next Premier League manager to leave 

Odds via thesackrace.com:

  • Marco Silva (Everton): 13/8  
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Man Utd): 2/1  
  • Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham): 5/1   
  • Steve Bruce (Newcastle): 14/1  
  • Quique Flores (Watford): 14/1  
Next permanent Man Utd manager 

Odds via Ladbrokes:

  • Mauricio Pochettino: 3/1  
  • Brendan Rodgers: 9/2 
  • Massimiliano Allegri: 6/1 
  • Arsene Wenger: 16/1 
  • Gareth Southgate: 20/1

Today’s back pages 

Manchester misery for City and United in the Premier League 

Latest Premier League results

Matchweek eight 
  • Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Tottenham Hotspur 0  
  • Burnley 1 Everton 0  
  • Liverpool 2 Leicester City 1  
  • Norwich City 1 Aston Villa 5  
  • Watford 0 Sheffield United 0  
  • West Ham United 1 Crystal Palace 2  
  • Arsenal 1 AFC Bournemouth 0  
  • Manchester City 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2  
  • Southampton 1 Chelsea 4  
  • Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 0

Next Premier League fixtures: matchweek nine

Saturday 19 October (3pm unless stated)
  • Everton vs. West Ham United (12.30pm, live on BT Sport 1)  
  • Aston Villa vs. Brighton & Hove Albion  
  • AFC Bournemouth vs. Norwich City  
  • Chelsea vs. Newcastle United  
  • Leicester City vs. Burnley  
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford  
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Southampton  
  • Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City (5.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
Sunday 20 October 
  • Manchester United vs. Liverpool (4.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
Monday 21 October
  • Sheffield United vs. Arsenal (8pm, live on Sky Sports) 

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