Tag Archives: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Why Antonio Conte isn’t a good fit for the Manchester United job

If one thing is sure right now at Manchester United, it’s that there needs to be a change of manager as soon as possible.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is, as of this writing, currently still the manager at Old Trafford despite the embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

But there are reports doing the rounds now that the club hierarchy are considering his position as manager of the club, and some even state that Antonio Conte has been included on the shortlist of potential replacements.

Now lets get this clear, Conte would 100 per cent be an upgrade on Solskjaer.

He is a brilliant coach, with a track record for success at club level and even internationally with Italy where he kickstarted the journey that has led to them becoming European champions under Roberto Mancini.

He led Juventus to three successive Serie A titles before leaving after a fall-out with the board. He took Italy to the quarter-finals with wins over number 1 ranked Belgium and reigning champions Spain, before a penalty-shootout defeat to Germany at Euro 2016.

He then came to the Premier League with Chelsea and won the Premier League in his first season, before winning the FA Cup the following year and leaving following another bust up with the board.

Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea poses with the Premier League Trophy after the Premier League match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford...

Then at Inter Milan, he missed out on the Serie A title by just one point in his first season before then waltzing to the club’s first championship since the days of Jose Mourinho in 2011. He left Inter in the summer after the club informed him of their plans to sell a key player to make money.

There is no doubting his ability to coach, but one thing all those teams have in common in addition to their success is the profile of the squad and the players he brought in. It goes totally against what Manchester United currently have and have been doing in the market.

Conte is a big advocate of a three-at-the-back formation and the truth is that United’s defenders aren’t good. So it’s a positive that they’d get extra help, but United don’t have great full-backs either.

United’s biggest strength is their wingers and attackers, who play at pace and are all a great goal threat. So limiting the amount of attackers that can play in the team because of the need for an extra defender seems counter productive to the team.

Inter Milan's Italian coach Antonio Conte reacts during the UEFA Champions League first round first leg, group B, football match between Inter Milan...

Conte is also an incredibly opinionated manager which would be great for fans who are sick of the board making footballing decisions based on no experience. However despite that, the likelihood of the Glazers appointing a manager at this stage who won’t support them publicly is unlikely.

Add to that the fact that Conte would require further huge investment in a squad to overhaul it to fit in with his style and moniker, before likely leaving a couple of years later after a bust up with the board then it makes you question whether it’s worth risking a Jose Mourinho v2 appointment.

Another big concern of mine is his tendency not to use young players. While at Chelsea he had access to one of the best academies in the land and yet opted to experienced signings and shuffling players into new positions.

Players like Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho are in the first-team currently but could find their position under threat or forced to perform roles that are far from their best.

Manchester United's English striker Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring the opening goal with Manchester United's English striker Jadon Sancho during...

Youngsters such as Hannibal Mejbri, Shola Shoretire, Anthony Elanga, Teden Mengi, James Garner and Ethan Galbraith could quickly find their path to the first-team blocked and United would be throwing away bags of talent.

The best way for United to ensure a successful appointment for their next manager is to decide on a playing style and personality type they want in charge and then appoint based on that. Not pick a big name or pick someone who doesn’t align with those processes.

Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich will appoint a nobody so long as they align with the thoughts of the board, because they’re not scared to wave the axe if necessary.

If Manchester United want to be considered a top club again, then they need to start acting like one. All this talk of ‘United DNA’ or ‘the United way of playing’ is nonsense if you don’t appoint staff that adhere to it.

Ole tried and failed. Conte wouldn’t even try, just like Mourinho didn’t. That’s not what the club needs and why United should stay away from Conte.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must go after 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool

It was arguably the most embarrassing performance in Manchester United’s Premier League history on Sunday, as Liverpool came to Old Trafford and thumped them 5-0.

A hat-trick from Mo Salah and goals from Naby Keita and Diogo Jota put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to the sword, as Jurgen Klopp’s men rushed to a 4-0 lead at half-time.

Salah added a fifth just after the break to round-up his monumental day, before substitute Paul Pogba was sent off for a two-footed tackle on Keita.

It was a straight up humiliation from United’s fiercest rivals as they came to town and cut through the Reds defence like a hot knife through butter.

United adopted that strange high-but-not-so-high press with a low block midfield and defence, meaning there was about 40 yards of space for the Liverpool defence to play into the halfway line and then be right at the team.

It was the exact same approach that has seen United win just three of their last nine games, getting cut open constantly because there is no shape or structure to the team.

Paul Scholes warned the team following the midweek 3-2 comeback win against Atalanta.

Do that against Liverpool and see what happens. The game will be gone.”

He was absolutely spot on. The game was over inside half an hour and United were completely helpless to stop anything.

It’s as clear as day now that Solskjaer has hit his ceiling with the job. He did a great job in rebuilding the squad, bringing in top talent, getting rid of deadwood and improving the morale of the squad after a torrid few years.

But now, when it comes to making the step up to becoming contenders and competing with Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel and the like, he isn’t and never will be up for it.

Any top side would react to a run of three wins in nine games, especially with the manner of the performances and a thumping to your most fierce rivals at home with a change.

Manchester United like to push the narrative that they’re still a top club, so they need to act.

If they don’t, it summarises where they are as a club. Mediocrity is a term thrown around quite a lot in football, but with one title in the last decade and no trophy for almost five years now United are entering that territory.

Not sacking Solskjaer now sends a message out that the current form and performances are acceptable, which would just confirm to all that the club aren’t interested in success on the pitch anymore.

The squad is strong enough that there is still time to save this season if action is taken quickly, but contrary to what Solskjaer said yesterday it can still get worse.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must be brave in team selection against Atalanta

Manchester United play host to Serie A’s free-scoring machines Atalanta in the Champions League group stages tonight knowing that they must win to put their future in the tournament back in their hands.

After an opening day defeat to Young Boys and an injury-time win over Villarreal so far, United come into this game in third place in the group with Atalanta yet to taste defeat in their two games.

But for United, their form is horrible. Two wins in seven games, with those wins coming thanks to a last minute penalty save against West Ham and Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike against Villarreal on match-day two in the 95th minute.

But a 4-2 defeat at Leicester at the weekend has been blamed on a ‘lack of balance’ in Solskjaer’s starting lineup where he started with all of Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba.

According to many, including pundit Jamie Carragher, the reason for the poor defending and defeat was because Solskjaer selected too many attacking players in his lineup.

In fact however, the defeat was just simply down to poor performances and a lack of a plan. What Solskjaer must not do now, is revert to type and go with a defensive lineup in a game he must win.

It’s almost guaranteed that the Norwegian will go back to his favoured ‘McFred’ partnership in midfield with Scott McTominay and Fred coming in for Nemanja Matic and one of the attacking players.

Fred and Scott McTominay of Manchester United run out to warm up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old...

Based on current form, it’ll be Jadon Sancho that drops out of the team with Pogba moving to the wing but that is a move that no United fan wants to see.

I don’t tend to agree with what Gary Neville says when it comes to Manchester United, because as he said on Monday Night Football, he is biased because Solskjaer is his friend and former teammate. But one thing he said in the most recent episode was absolutely correct.

Solskjaer must find a way to make the team work with the extra attacking players in the team. He has too many options and too much talent to leave them out in favour of a more defensive and pragmatic approach.

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United celebrates scoring their second goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester...

United aren’t exactly bulletproof when he goes with two defensive midfielders playing in central midfield anyway, so you may as well have more firepower at your disposal from the start to frighten the opposition too.

He must be brave in sticking with the team selection despite it not working against Leicester and go for an attacking side once again. If he can’t make it work, then he’s the wrong man for the job.

Zinedine Zidane has ‘no interest’ in Premier League

Manchester United fans have been dealt a blow in their wish to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after it emerged Zinedine Zidane has no interest in a Premier League job.

The Norwegian boss has come under intense pressure in recent weeks at Old Trafford after just two wins in seven games ahead of a run of fixtures that includes Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Atalanta twice in the Champions League.

Fans of the club have been vocal about their wish for him to be sacked to give United a chance to challenge for major trophies, with Frenchman Zidane one of the names at the top of their wishlist to replace him.

However it is now being reported that ‘Zizou’ has never been interested in taking a job in the Premier League and never will be.

That is according to French journalist Frederic Hermel, who is incredibly close to the legendary midfielder and works for French outlet RMC Sport.

Hermel has followed Zidane throughout his career and interviewed him on several occasions and is regarded as one of the only journalists that the former Real Madrid man really trusts.

He tweeted out that Zidane has never been interested in a Premier League move and never will be following rumours of an approach from Newcastle United, while Spanish outlet El Chringuito claimed that Manchester United had held informal conversations with him about taking over from Solskjaer.

But with Hermel now claiming that there is no interest, that should be the end of that such is his reliability in all things Zidane.

The news comes as a blow to United fans who were hopeful that he could take over from Solskjaer, with the 49-year-old by far the highest profile free agent available currently.

Other names to have been linked to the position are former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte, Erik Ten Haag of Ajax, Mauricio Pochettino of Paris Saint-Germain and England boss Gareth Southgate.

Solskjaer has been given full confidence by the board so far despite the poor run of results and there is no suggestion from within the club that they are looking to replace him any time soon.

Jadon Sancho will come good.. with a proper coach in charge

One of the most protracted transfers of the summer was Jadon Sancho’s big money move to Manchester United, as he finally joined the club from Borussia Dortmund.

A £72.9m deal, Sancho joined up with his United teammates just a week before the season after representing England at Euro 2020 and then going on holiday to rest.

He made his debut on the opening day of the season as a substitute in the 5-1 win over Leeds at Old Trafford, with a rapturous applause from the crowd confirming his place as a new fan favourite.

But now ten games into the season, the 21-year-old is yet to register a single goal or assist for the club as they have struggled to find consistency in their game.

United so far have won five, lost three and drawn two of their games this season but their recent form has been poor. They’ve earned just two wins in their last seven games, and even those wins came courtesy of a last minute penalty save and then a last minute winner.

Sancho has failed to make a huge impact in games so far and has come in for ridicule and criticism on social media and in the media.

But the slow start to his campaign could’ve been (and was) predicted way before it got to this point.

Jadon Sancho of Manchester United shakes hands with Manchester United Head Coach / Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Carrington Training Ground on July...

Firstly, he’s a new signing coming in off no pre-season to a new team. That’s tough for anyone, we’ve seen plenty of top players struggle at their new clubs in the first months of the season before and we will see it in the future too.

Secondly, he’s only 21. Yes, he’s been playing regularly for years, but he’s still young and learning his game and body properly and will need time to adapt and find his consistency in a new league.

Thirdly however, and most importantly, is that the team he has joined lacks a style of play. It’s something that has been mentioned for years under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and continues to be a problem to this day.

Sancho is coming from the Bundesliga and Dortmund, where their style is engrained into the club and the manager is selected based off whether they can perform that style.

Jadon Sancho of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on October 02, 2021 in...

They play quick, transitional football with a high-press and look to break the lines from midfield as quickly as possible to catch their opposition defence unorganised and punish them.

We’re now into a fourth season with Solskjaer in charge and there are no obvious patterns of play, there is no organisation to the press and there is an over-reliance on individual ability and certain players to play.

United fans have claimed for a long time that the personnel needed to be better but that it doesn’t necessarily matter when there is no coaching happening, and that is proving to be the case right now.

Paul Pogba was the cream of the crop at the start of the season when he couldn’t stop assisting his teammates, but now it’s being claimed he’s a problem player on the pitch because he’s stopped delivering, despite nobody stepping up in his absence.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho of Manchester United warms up ahead of the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at...

Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing was barely criticised when he scored five goals in his first five games for the club, but suddenly his presence makes the team unbalanced.

Sancho’s form is poor and he is struggling, that much is true and obvious. But so is the entire team. In a team that doesn’t know its head from its arse, it’s no surprise that new signings fail to deliver the results many expect them to.

The only constant is that the team fail to deliver a specific style or genuine patter in the way they play football matches. That is on Solskjaer, and it will continue until he is replaced by someone else.

Why is having a different vision deemed as being a fake fan?

Far too regularly on social media a bad results seems to turn fans of a club against each other because they see the game differently.

The biggest example I tend to see is with the top clubs after a bad result, where some fans want to see something different and other fans are intent on backing the manager no matter what.

There is no wrong answer, because everyone sees the game differently. But something that always gripes me is when one fan tells another that they’re ‘fake’ and should go and support someone else if they’re not happy. Why is there not allowed to be criticism that runs alongside support?

Lets take the Manchester United defeat to Young Boys in the Champions League as an example.

Manchester United took an early lead thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal and while they weren’t playing particularly well they were leading and comfortable. Then Aaron Wan-Bissaka got sent off and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer began to panic.

He switched to a three-at-the-back system at half-time, leaving only Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes as real goal threats on the pitch as he looked to see out the result with 45 minutes to go in front of a hostile set of home fans. Then they equalised after some sustained pressure, and Solskjaer decided to bring off both Ronaldo and Fernandes at the same time with Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard coming on in their place.

United couldn’t keep the ball and then in the 85th minute, he confused the world by bringing on Anthony Martial for Fred. Young Boys scored a deserved winner in the 95th minute to condemn United to an opening group game defeat, yet some refused to acknowledge the poor decisions of the coach.

Yes it was an individual error that cost United the game, as Lingard’s back pass got intercepted and slotted home, but the decisions before that build up to a lack of outlet and threat for the opposition to worry about.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Interim Manager of Manchester United acknowledges the fans following the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester...

Calling for a manager to be sacked off the back of one result is obviously ludicrous and ridiculous, but when it’s a result or performance that is seen regularly with decisions that constantly let the team down then it isn’t.

Whether someone agrees or disagrees is their prerogative, but someone wanting change doesn’t mean they’re a ‘fake’ fan or don’t support the club. That’s a nonsense narrative.

A fan wanting to change something to take the club forward in their opinion is in no way a negative thing. Abuse and agendas unacceptable and pointless, but giving an opinion on how you think the club should move forward should be a topic of debate not the start of a civil war between a fan-base.

As usual, social media is a bed for extremes. It’s either the best or the worst, when the truth is really somewhere in the middle. Blindly backing a manager or player just because of the position they hold or a personal belief is more counter-productive than looking for solutions (even if extreme!) to make the team better.

Whether you agree or disagree with something someone is saying is fine. Everyone is allowed their own opinion and no fan-base will ever agree with unanimously. That isn’t the issue. But calling someone a ‘fake fan’ for their way of improving being different to yours makes absolutely zero sense.

So next time you see a take on social media that you disagree with about your club, remember that all they want is for the club to be better than it currently is. That or some attention.

Manchester United transfer window looks right for the most part

It feels like every summer for the last five summers Manchester United have needed the same positions filled during a transfer window.

A right winger, a striker, a centre-back, a defensive midfielder and full-backs. All of which have been signed in recent years, but none of the quality necessary to make it not a glaring issue within the squad.

But this summer seems a little bit different for the most part when it comes to the transfers the squad are reportedly seeking.

A deal for Jadon Sancho is closer than ever before with the Red Devils having made two bids for the England international so far and the only thing stopping it being accepted is the structure of the payments.

Then there is the news that Raphael Varane really wants to leave Real Madrid this summer and that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are at the front of the queue to make a deal happen.

That’s two top level players that would not only improve the squad this summer but they would also instantly improve the starting lineup too, which can only help to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool for next season.

Further to those two United have also been linked with Declan Rice for the defensive midfield position, Kieran Trippier for the right-back role and Edinson Cavani has re-signed for another year as the striker option.

Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford of England look on during the England training session on June 03, 2021 in Middlesbrough, England.

While I don’t necessarily agree with the personnel of the other two incoming transfer targets initially, it’s a positive sign that the club are looking to address problem areas of the squad in one window.

Solskjaer has shown that he has progressed the team to a certain level without getting first-choice targets for much of his tenure, but to kick on to the next level he needs that added quality to lean on when it gets tough.

For the defensive midfield role, United need someone with quality defensive attributes but who can also play football. Just being good defensively isn’t enough for the top clubs and Rice’s attributes on the ball won’t help United when coming up against a low block, which is something they already struggle with.

A defensive midfielder with quality on the ball like Yves Bissouma or Douglas Luiz would cost a fraction of the price and be better suited to what a top midfield really needs.

At right-back Trippier is the right profile of player needed, just the wrong individual. The England and Atletico Madrid defender is a good attacking outlet as well as decent defender, but he is the wrong side of 30 and will take a fair chunk out of the budget for the summer.

United currently have Diogo Dalot and Ethan Laird as young, attacking full-backs that could compete with Aaron Wan-Bissaka in that position but instead Solskjaer wants to sign one as a short-term option.

Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium battles for possession with Declan Rice of England and Kieran Trippier of England during the UEFA Nations League group...

If signing one is the thing that needs to be done because Solskjaer doesn’t rate Dalot and Laird is moving out on loan for the season, then it should be someone younger that is a target. Tariq Lamptey would be a terrific option, while I’m sure some scouting departments could look at the likes of Germany Under-21 right-back Ridle Baku and see a talented option there.

They’d likely cost less than the reported £35million that Atletico want for Trippier but even if they didn’t, the fee would be far more justified as a long-term investment to compete with Wan-Bissaka on going forward rather than someone coming in for a final big pay day.

Whether we agree with the personnel though, it shows that Solskjaer sees what the fans see and that improvements are needed in specific areas. The fact the business seems to be a priority to get done early is a positive.

The summer transfer window is on the right track for Manchester United, for the most part anyway.

Thomas Tuchel’s success shows Manchester United a different path to glory

Back in January 2021, Chelsea were sat in ninth place in the Premier League table four points off the top four and even further away from the top while managed by club legend Frank Lampard.

In the top position were Manchester United, managed by former striker and club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after overcoming a tough run in the middle of the winter and coming through spades of criticism.

Fast forward to the end of the season, only one of those men is still in their job while the other has been crowned as champion of Europe by winning the UEFA Champions League.

Interestingly though, it’s the London club that have gone on to prove their potential after changing managers at the turn of the year.

Thomas Tuchel was brought in after being sacked by PSG just a few weeks before and since his appointment, the Blues have had the best defensive record in Europe. Add to that the fact they have won the Champions League, made the FA Cup final and finished in the top four then it’s hard to argue that the decision was a bad one.

On the other hand Manchester United finished second in the league, finishing 12 points behind Manchester City, crashed out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage and were beaten on penalties in the Europa League final by Villarreal.

Chelsea’s hierarchy saw that Lampard was struggling to get past a certain point with his squad, despite the heavy investment and short period of time. He was falling out with members of the squad such as Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta, while also failing to get the best out of new signings.

A dip in form that saw the situation deteriorate saw Roman Abramovich pull the trigger and bring in a coach with more experience and a tactical mindset, used to challenging for top honours and getting the best out of a top squad.

Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the end of the UEFA Europa League final football match between Villarreal CF and...

That change had been criticised at the time for not giving Lampard any time to turn it around, but he like many fans had seen enough. Lampard wasn’t the man to take them where they wanted to go, even going as far as to say that the team “wasn’t ready to compete yet.” Just five months later they’re kings of Europe without anything more than coaching being the difference.

It leaves Manchester United and their fans with a bit of ‘what if’ syndrome. What if they had sacked Solskjaer when they were struggling and brought in Tuchel or another top coach? What if they didn’t accept second place and no trophies as progress?

Solskjaer has done a pretty good job since coming in. He’s steadied a very rocky ship, laid foundations for a side that can compete and identified problem areas that need to be improved upon. But on the pitch as a coach, he has struggled to really make a huge impact.

United don’t really have a set way of playing under him and they don’t have a goal that typifies their approach play. You can watch a Guardiola team score a tap in from the penalty spot onwards after their full-back has cut the ball back probably around 20 times a season. You know when you watch Tuchel’s Chelsea what to expect, but with Ole’s reds it just isn’t clear. The only goals they score repeatedly are counter-attacks or penalties.

The biggest thing they are missing is a style of play and a footprint from a coach. Everyone and their grandmother can tell you that United need a defensive midfielder, but because we don’t know the style in which Solskjaer wants to play it’s hard to say who the best option is for the role.

A coach with a real identity to their play would be ideal to take this Manchester United side to the next level. There’s no shame in the club noticing that Solskjaer may have hit his ceiling and amicably going separate ways.

Southampton did it in the past to bring in Mauricio Pochettino, Wolves have just done it with Nuno Espirito Santo. There’s real potential for growth with United and a proper coach, it’s just whether they are content just challenging or if they’re willing to take a risk to push to the next level.

Villarreal vs Manchester United – Europa League final prediction

The end of a long, tumultuous club campaign is finally upon us as we enter European cup final week, starting with the Europa League.

Unai Emery’s Villarreal look to secure themselves Champions League qualification for next season when they take on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United, who are looking to earn their first trophy together with the former player at the helm.

Emery has won the competition three times previously, all with Sevilla, while he also made the final in 2019 as manager of Arsenal although they lost 4-1 to Chelsea. United on the other hand are reaching their first final in any competition since losing the FA Cup final to Chelsea in 2018 and will look to win their first trophy since winning the Europa League in 2017 under Jose Mourinho.

Villarreal made it to the final unbeaten in the competition throughout, winning 11 of their 14 games so far this season. They’ve showed some great attacking flair, scoring 27 goals but have also been able to shut up shop when necessary and defend well, conceding just eight times.

They were able to skip past Arsenal will relative ease in the semi-finals, winning the home tie before keeping a clean sheet in a goalless draw at the Emirates to secure their path to Gdansk, with Emery switching up his approach for each game.

Manchester United only entered the tournament at the knockout stages after crashing out of the Champions League before Christmas. They’ve had a pretty tough run of it too, but were able to comfortably navigate their way to the final with aggregate wins over Real Sociedad, AC Milan, Granada and Roma.

United have scored 18 times in the Europa League this season in just eight games, and had conceded just once before the semi-final affair with Roma which saw them win 8-5 on aggregate.

They’ve been the favourites since dropping down into the tournament and have lived up to that tag well, controlling all the ties they’ve been part of for the vast majority of the time on the pitch.

Solskjaer’s side essentially picks itself at the moment. Harry Maguire’s injury is the biggest question mark, because if he is unavailable then the decision must be made about whether to start the more experienced Eric Bailly or the in-form Axel Tuanzebe alongside Victor Lindelof.

It seems almost certain that he’ll continue with his favoured McFred combination in midfield, which means Paul Pogba will start in one of the wide positions again. Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes are almost sure to start, which means the final spot comes down to whether Mason Greenwood or Edinson Cavani will start up front – with my money going on ‘El Matador’.

Emery’s team selection is a bit more fluid, depending on what type of approach he chooses to take. Winger Samuel Chukwueze is expected to be fit enough to at least be on the bench but whether the manager chooses to go with a more defensive approach could decide the rest of his midfield.

He’s likely to opt to sit back and force United to try and break them down, something they have notoriously struggled with under Ole’s tenure at the club.

With that said though, Solskjaer has managed to build the strongest team that United have had since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement and they’re best placed to win the competition. They have the better individual players, are in better form and even without Maguire they should be good enough to hold strong defensively.

It will likely be a very cagey affair, with not many goals unless someone can score early on. But I can’t see past Manchester United getting the victory with the added quality they have and it’ll likely be that man Fernandes to pop up with the winner.

Villarreal 0-1 Manchester United

Manchester United come from behind again to show character of champions

Manchester United took a step closer to securing a second placed finish in the Premier League with yet another come from behind win to beat Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named a strong team for the game despite United being scheduled to play three times in five days this week, as well as a gruelling game against Roma just 72 hours before the game.

They fell behind too in the first half as a stunning strike from Bertrand Traore found the top corner after some slack defending from Victor Lindelof when Scott McTominay lost the ball on the edge of the box.

United bounced back in the second half though when Paul Pogba was fouled by Douglas Luiz in the penalty area and Bruno Fernandes tucked home the resulting penalty. Just a few minutes later they had the lead when Aaron Wan-Bissaka found Mason Greenwood on the edge of the box, who rolled Tyrone Mings and slammed the ball into the near corner with his left foot.

Villa piled on the pressure looking to get back into the game but Marcus Rashford’s fine cross found substitute Edinson Cavani who headed beyond the keeper to round the game off. Villa were reduced to ten men when Ollie Watkins dived looking for a penalty and picked up a second yellow card.

It was the TENTH time in the Premier League this season that Manchester United have come from behind to win, a new record, and showed the incredible spirit that Solskjaer has brought to this side.

Being able to win games when playing badly and coming from behind are often traits associated with championship winning teams and while United look likely to miss out on the title this time around, it’s been a relatively impressive season.

Despite crashing out of the Champions League much earlier than they should, they have maintained a decent push at the top of the Premier League throughout the season and as well as reaching the latter stages of the FA Cup and Carabao Cup are now in the final of the Europa League.

They have lost just four times in the Premier League this season, after losing three of their first six games, and have found a way of beating teams who set up against them in a low block too.

There has been a clear evolution under Solskjaer this season and United have improved immensely, but a few too many draws have seen them unable to keep up with a relentless Manchester City side.

If they can start to work towards playing with the same intensity and quality from the beginning of games instead of when they go 1-0 down they’d be much better placed to put together a real challenge for the title.

The squad is a good mix of youth players and experience and with a few additions such as a defensive midfielder, a centre back and a right-winger (plus a striker if Cavani leaves) then they will be ready to push forward even more.

Solskjaer has made United hard to beat and capable of beating anyone on their day and there’s not much more you can ask for at this point. Now on to the next level.