It looked so different just 30 seconds into the encounter for Manchester United when Bruno Fernandez hopped and scored past Hugo Lloris, but 90 minutes later, all the hop and joy of those early moments had been totally obliterated. Six goals conceded and two places off the relegation places after just three matches.
But it is what they should see as a good ‘disaster’. The 2020/21 football season is just weeks old and the earlier the manager and the United hierarchy understand the magnitude of the work before them, the better.
Though they have somewhat failed in the transfer window, they have the January window, which they can prepare properly for.
United must strengthen these three positions
Centre back is a challenge
Pundits have always said Harry Maguire was a good defender but not world-class. Shocking decisions, jitteriness, and a lack of pace from the former Leicester City defender is exposed at every turn. Unfortunately, he has also been handed the arm band and that will weigh down the best of players, not to talk of one that is just above average.
Can United go into the market and get a ‘Rio Ferdinand’ into the team – that defender that will command those behind and before him?
Solve the Pogba apathy
Paul Pogba can be world class – only if paired with other world class players. The World Cup winner has shown he cannot carry or lift a band of average players, and that is what this United team is. The capture of Donny van de Beek from Ajax has not solved this challenge. Will United be better served if they sell Pogba? That is one conundrum Ed Woodward and the Glazers have to solve in the coming months. A younger Juan Mata will be the perfect solution–a glue between the midfield and the attack, who also carries a goal threat. January acquisition, Bruno Fernandes, is a terrific player, but he is not the best playmaker that the United attackers warrant.
The choice of Solskjaer as manager
When Solskjaer was unveiled as a stop-gap solution after Jose Mourinho’s reign went south, it should have stopped at that – a stop-gap solution.
Making Solskjaer substantive manager after Mourinho is a mistake the Glazers do not want to right. The former Stretford idol was the perfect way to assuage a fan base up in arms against the owners and the administrators.
Has he performed? Yes, but not to the extent of the global brand that United is. He does not possess the sophistication of a Carlo Ancelotti [see what the Italian is doing at Everton] or the genius of Julian Nagelsmann, RB Leipzig manager.
Will the Glazers and Woodward have the willpower to answer these challenges with a decisive action? Time is ticking!
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