Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reviews Manchester City defeat
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One of the major trends of Manchester United’s run of awful form has been the struggles of left-back Luke Shaw. The England international starred for the Red Devils last season, but has not looked like the same player since he returned from his duties at Euro 2020.
Shaw has played all but two games for United in all competitions this season, but it has been a poor one for both him and United.
He has started at left-back or left wing-back during the Red Devils’ run of just one win in six Premier League games.
And the 26-year-old’s performances during that run have come in for heavy criticism, especially in the hammering at the hands of Liverpool just over a week ago.
His poor form continued on Saturday, when Manchester City visited Old Trafford, with Shaw again lining up at left wing-back.
But he was in part at fault for Bernardo Silva’s goal, which ultimately sealed the win for Pep Guardiola’s men.
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It is a continuing trend for Shaw, who has lost 46 of his defensive duels, lost nine of his aerial battles and has a tackle success rate of 67 per cent.
But Solskjaer has been left with little choice other than to persist with playing Shaw, despite his poor form.
The only other option for the Norwegian in that position is Alex Telles, though it appears that he his not trusted to play a large role.
The Brazilian defender was signed for £15million ahead of last season, but has played just three games so far this campaign.
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Though Telles scored a stunning equaliser against Villarreal in the Champions League, Solskjaer has selected him just once in the Premier League, that being a sub appearance against City.
Before that Telles had either been left on the bench or out of the matchday squad altogether, all while Shaw has struggled for form.
Stars struggling for form, such as Ben Chilwell at Chelsea or Shaw at United, can be helped by being brought out of the firing line.
But while Thomas Tuchel can do that with Chilwell thanks to the presence of Marcos Alonso, Solskjaer is forced to play Shaw having been left unimpressed by Telles.
That situation at left-back has exposed the misguided transfer strategy that has been in place under Solskjaer’s management.
While title rivals Liverpool, City and Chelsea can all call upon high-quality back-up options at full-back and throughout their squads, Solskjaer does not have the same luxury.
Instead, United have focused on bringing in big-money transfers, leaving their squad low in in quality among the bit-part players.
Even then, the likes of Jadon Sancho and Donny van de Beek have not been played by Solskjaer, suggesting a lack of joined-up thinking in the recruitment process.
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