Manchester United legend Andy Cole has given his take on the current situation at the club and feels manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his work cut out to put things right.
Early-season optimism at Old Trafford has been replaced by concern, with two defeats in three top-flight games. The Red Devils have fared better in Europe, winning back-to-back Champions League matches to top Group F. But they needed a late rally to get past Atalanta earlier this week as Cristiano Ronaldo hit an 81st-minute winner.
Ronaldo was a late summer addition to the squad after United had spent big on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane. The Portugal skipper’s signing was the final piece of the puzzle for the north-west giants to challenge for the title.
Things started well as Solskjaer’s side won four and drew one of their first five league outings. But home losses to Aston Villa and Leicester City plus a draw at Everton see them sixth in the standings.
Much has been said about the players Solskjaer has at his disposal. The Norwegian has an embarrassment of riches in his attacking ranks.
But it is finding the balance that appears to be the issue. Cole agrees and believes it is a case of trying to find the right combination of stars to select in the same team.
“I think at the moment, it hurts me to say, I think it’s a bit of round holes, square pegs,” he told Premier League Productions, via The Express. “We’ve got loads of talent, and I mean loads of talent, but how do you try to fit all that talent in?”
Knives being sharpened for Solskjaer
Solskjaer is closing in on three years in charge at the Theatre of Dreams. He has yet to win any silverware and lost out to Villarreal in the final of the 2020-2021 Europa League.
The Scandinavian’s status as a club playing legend has possibly earned him extra time to turn things around. However, whether he is the right man to take the club forward is open to debate.
Former West Ham and Celtic striker-turned pundit Frank McAvennie feels the boss has not done enough to solve the current problems.
“He doesn’t have a leg to stand on,” he told Football Insider. “He’s signed a world-class centre back along with one of the top young talents in the world.
“That’s before you even get to Ronaldo, who a lot of people said would win them the league.
“If he was that desperate for a midfielder he would have signed one. It’s obvious that is where the improvement is needed.”