Manchester United v Manchester City Match in Pictures
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Manchester United’s loss to bitter local rivals Manchester City last week certainly wasn’t their most embarrassing scoreline of the season, but it was comfortably one of their worst performances. Registering just one shot on target and boasting 32 per cent possession, it was one of the easiest games City have had in a long while. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came under a lot of criticism for the performance, but is yet to be sacked for his actions. Here are four things he must do to avoid the chop.
Qualify from the Champions League group
If it wasn’t for Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics, United would likely be out of the Champions League already.
The Portugal star has scored in each of United’s four group stage games, earning the Red Devils five points with his late goals.
They only remain two points clear of Atalanta in third, meaning qualification isn’t secure just yet.
But a win in Villarreal would almost virtually guarantee a place in the knockout stages – something United should really have wrapped up by now.
Improve their home record in the league
The 5-1 and 4-1 wins over Leeds and Newcastle respectively gave United fans real hope over their domination for the season to come at Old Trafford.
Yet just one point from a possible 12 at home since has crushed the optimism that the first couple of games brought.
Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Brighton, Burnley and Wolves are the next five visitors to Old Trafford, and fans will need to see huge improvements if they are to shoot up the table.
The recent results have left them with the 13th best home record in the league – an unacceptable feat for a club of United’s size.
Give Van de Beek more minutes
Donny van de Beek has been an extremely peripheral figure since his £40million move from Ajax in July 2020.
The Dutchman scored on his league debut, signalling a huge future at Old Trafford in a sign of things to come.
Yet with barely any Premier League games since – registering just 16 minutes in the Premier League this season for no apparent reason – the Dutchman either needs to play more or look for a move away.
And with the fans clearly taking his side as opposed to Solskjaer’s, it may just be that the Norwegian needs to swallow his pride and play him.
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Find a consistent attacking line-up
Ronaldo’s involvement will always be a given considering how important he is to United’s performance.
However, he needs to gel with the squad if United are to improve as a whole – and with the constant changes to the starting XI, this is something Solskjaer must get right.
Marcus Rashford’s return from injury, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial’s dip in form and Mason Greenwood’s emergence means that Solskjaer is spoilt for talent in the wide areas.
But he must settle on a desired front three if he is to gain results and show a lot of patience along the way.
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