If Manchester United wished to be taken critically as title contenders, they wanted to come back to the King Energy Stadium and win.
Not solely did they lose, they capitulated, producing one in every of their worst performances of the season thus far in what was their first away defeat within the Premier League since January 2020.
This, then, was not the begin to an important three-week interval that supervisor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was so desperately looking for.
Cristiano Ronaldo stormed straight down the tunnel at full time, and who can blame him? He did not come again to United to play in abject showings akin to this.
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Given Leicester’s kind, this was, on paper at the least, the best fixture on United’s run of six difficult video games.
Nevertheless, after their subsequent league opponents, Liverpool, placed on a five-star show at Watford earlier within the day, United collapsed in opposition to Brendan Rodgers’ aspect.
Solskjaer’s workforce may have used this fixture to make a optimistic assertion about their title credentials however, based mostly on their efficiency on Saturday afternoon, they haven’t obtained a hope of difficult the likes of Liverpool, Manchester Metropolis and Chelsea for high spot this season.
Solskjaer regarded stone-faced as Patson Daka scored Leicester’s fourth in damage time and he actually may don’t have any complaints in regards to the ultimate scoreline. Leicester deserved their win; 4-2 didn’t flatter them.
🚨 As issues stand Ole Gunnar Solskjaer place as Manchester United supervisor understood to be 100% safe. Regardless of poor run of kind 48yo nonetheless has assist of #MUFC board. Signed new contract in working till 2024 with possibility of additional 12 months @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/vgM5p1WMNW
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) October 16, 2021
Why is Manchester United struggling?
If it hadn’t been for the excellent heroics of David de Gea in purpose, the Foxes would have been out of sight earlier than the clock hit 80 minutes.
United have been poor from entrance to again and once more left counting on particular person brilliance to maintain them within the match.
They have been the masters of their very own downfall, with fixed errors presenting their hosts with one probability after one other.
Two of the house aspect’s objectives got here from set-pieces, a typical drawback for Solskjaer’s aspect, and their first got here from a dreadful try and play out from the again from the lackadaisical Harry Maguire.
The Manchester United captain arguably shouldn’t have been on the pitch. He regarded rusty having been rushed again from a calf damage with only one full coaching session beneath his belt, and it confirmed.
“It was my resolution to play Harry, he is labored actually onerous on rehab with physios and he regarded prepared did not really feel any after-effects,” Solskjaer defined postgame. “He is a large participant for us, the captain, the chief, we wished carry him again as quickly as we will as a result of he is been so influential in our play. He obtained higher and higher all through the sport, on the ball, the sport was ebbing and flowing.”
Maguire put the ball out of play inside the first minute and it set the tone for his sloppy efficiency. Mohamed Salah have to be licking his lips on the prospect of arising in opposition to this again line in simply over per week’s time!
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United struggled to take care of Leicester’s press, so how they plan to take care of probably the most in-form ahead in Europe ought to give Solskjaer sleepless nights this week.
So typically up to now few weeks, the Norwegian has spoken a couple of lack of ruthlessness from his attackers, however they don’t transfer like a unit who’ve a coherent plan.
Jadon Sancho was quiet once more, Ronaldo couldn’t get a sniff of purpose and United’s equaliser got here from a second of brilliance from Mason Greenwood.
And that is the crux of the drawback.
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United aren’t simply counting on De Gea’s wonderful shot-stopping expertise to make up for his or her defensive shortcomings; they’re additionally relying on Greenwood, Ronaldo, Rashford et al to tug purpose of the season contenders out of the bag frequently as a way to decide up factors.
There must be a transparent, coherent and functioning plan however, for the time being, there seems to be no construction in any respect, as underlined by their present run of two wins from the final seven outings.
They’re caught in a rut and with Liverpool, Manchester Metropolis and Tottenham arising, it’s tough to see how they’re going to get out of it.