6:42 P.M. (EASTERN TIME)
Manchester, England – It would take a week for Manchester United, led by Ole Gunnar Solskier, to prove they’re on the right track, but instead the season could be lost.
A 3-2 defeat for RB Leipzig on Tuesday was enough to stop United’s return to the Champions League and they will return to the Europa League in the new year. Paul Pogba’s agent Mino Rayola dropped a bomb Monday that the French midfielder doesn’t want to sign and wants to leave the club as soon as possible. Manchester City, visiting Old Trafford on Saturday, is waiting in the wings to turn this hat-trick into a crisis.
Pogba stayed on the bench to fight against Leipzig – Solskier insisted the decision had nothing to do with Rayola’s explosive interview with Tuttosport, which was published at the exact moment the players landed in Germany on Monday night – but when it was introduced an hour later, United were already leading 2-0 and were well on their way to the early release.
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We weren’t good enough in the team and it’s always the manager’s job to make sure everyone is ready, Solskjaer said afterwards. We knew they were coming at us, we knew they would make crosses in the penalty area and unfortunately we missed two goals and never got out.
United remains firmly convinced that Solskieu is the man for the job, but questions are being asked about how his team managed to emerge victorious from a 5-0 defeat at Paris St Germain and the break-up in Leipzig after the start of the campaign. In the end, they paid a heavy price for the 2-1 defeat of Istanbul Basaksehir, which looked even more ridiculous today than at night. Paul Shawls called the outcome in Turkey a disaster.
Solskjaer is the first manager to lose six of his first ten games in the English Champions League, but he is not in imminent danger because he has received enough sympathy from Executive Vice-President Ed Woodward and the owners of the Glasers. However, he will know enough about the recent history of the club to understand that when Louis van Gaal was sent to Wolfsburg with a 3-2 defeat in 2015, this was the beginning of the end for the Dutchman. Six months later he was replaced by José Mourinho.
Maurizio Cochettino would be forgiven if he let himself smile a little while looking for his next job. Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann and PSG boss Thomas Tuchel, two managers who will be promoted from Group H at the expense of Solskjär, will also be in the frame, but United will not be there at this stage.
However, Mr Solskjaer should be worried that he has asked his protagonists to take a step forward in the decisive game, which they have not done. Even more worrying is that Captain Harry Maguire realised that this was not the case at the beginning of the biggest game of the season.
It only took one point to qualify, Solskjär decided to get an A on his back, including Luke Shaw, who made his first start more than a month ago after recovering from a hamstring injury. But in 30 minutes it was hard to say whether United played against five defenders or no one.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Once again, Ole Gunnar Solskier has failed to convince the fans that he is the man who can bring Man United back to the top. Getty
Former Manchester United defender Angelino took advantage of Aaron Van Bissak’s total ignorance about his rear to beat him 1-0 in two minutes. After 12 minutes it was 2-0 when Shaw was absent and Amadou surpassed Haidar David De Gay with a single volley. Emile Forsberg was forced to sit out a three-man team when the United States Five decided that the Swedish striker was not worth the goal at all, before the VAR came to their aid when the record of Willie Orban was wiped off the offside list.
The only good thing about the first half is that it wasn’t as disastrous as it should have been.
Maguire and De Gea added their names to this embarrassing table and somehow combined them, allowing Justin Kluwert to score the easiest 3-0 after 69 minutes. Although United scored in the last ten minutes thanks to goals from Bruno Fernandas and Pogba, the second stage was too far from goal.
Craig Burley, Shaka Hislop and others have joined Dan Thomas to bring you the latest news and discuss the most important plots. Flows to ESPN+ (USA only).
Pep Guardiola will be happy to analyze the defense in the run-up to the Manchester derby this weekend. United has conceded the first goal in eight of their ten league games and three of their six Champions League games. Although this strategy has yielded interesting results, it is not sustainable.
In other games where we admit the first goal, we started pretty well, but today we only showed up when they scored the second goal and then suddenly we played again, says Solskjaer. In the second half there was a more or less one-sided move and the only chance they had was to score. 3-0 is difficult, but they all gave the best of themselves, with their good character and their efforts. I can’t blame anyone, and we were close to third place, which would be quite an achievement against a team as good as Leipzig.
So Solskier faces the challenge of getting his players together for the first derby of the season and at the same time start building his reputation with fans who still doubt his ability to bring United back to the top. It could have taken him a week to prove he could climb those heights, but after he left the Champions League, the Norwegian made the climb.
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