Manchester United
(Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

I usually tend to give Manchester United the benefit of the doubt as a football club when they underperform, or fall short of expectations…as they’ve done since 2013, but that has abruptly ended after the catastrophe I just watched. They’ve managed to go through four managers in seven years, and it looks like they’re going to dismiss the fifth one pretty soon if Ole Gunnar Solskjær doesn’t start getting better results for the Red Devils, and fast. They’ve compiled 34 points in 24 matches, and have experienced high points against teams such as Manchester City and Tottenham in December, but as of late with a disappointing loss to Liverpool, and a humiliating defeat against Burnley at Old Trafford today, the future seems very uncertain, and another serious overhaul may be in the mix soon.

United have experienced decent success in the past decade winning one title in 2013, along with a few top four finishes. However if we know anything about the higher-ups within Manchester United’s organization, we know that mediocrity isn’t okay, they want the world and everything in it. Unfortunately this season, (or the past few) won’t be one in which they see that dream fulfilled due to Liverpool’s mighty surge to the top, their incompetence against inferior clubs and this stunning loss to Burnley certainly didn’t ease the United fanbase’s conscience.

In a demoralizing display, United fans began leaving the match early after the Red Devils gave up two goals en route to an embarrassing loss that now gives teams like Sheffield United and Southampton a chance to overtake United in the league table. If that doesn’t tell you how terribly this football club is being operated, I don’t know what will. Solskjær is under immense pressure to get this football club in the right direction, and he simply hasn’t assertively taken control of this team on and off the pitch, and it’s been reflected through their performance this season.

Overall, United played hard today, and won the offensive battle on paper but their execution was never enough on both sides of the pitch, and frankly, it was clear for 90 minutes that Burnley wanted this game more than United did. After forward Jay Rodriguez doubled the lead with a left-footed shot just outside of the penalty area, it was clear that United lost their confidence and it was noticeable, I mean David De Gea’s too talented to let a shot like that slip into the corner of the net, and everybody in the stadium knew it.

I have to call out Solskjær for his body language after conceding the second goal, that did not look like a manager who was willing to claw through the adversity to continue leading his team, and it certainly won’t inspire confidence around Old Trafford if he doesn’t learn to accept that while things will never be perfect, he has to be resilient, take responsibility and find a way for his soccer club to win consistently. 

I’ll give credit where it’s due, I think the unit as a whole did a great job of keeping the ball moving on Burnley’s end of the pitch, but it never resulted in a goal. Shots from deep didn’t result in anything fruitful, Juan Mata pissed away a great cross in the first half and couldn’t convert a very fortunate free kick late in the game. I don’t know why Phil Jones or Anthony Martial was on the field today, they didn’t affect anything and (captain) Harry Maguire looked absolutely nothing like a captain tonight, they all have some soul searching to do.

The back four of Manchester United needs to be seriously re-evaluated because they’re just not going to be enough to elevate to the next level as a football club, and have been consistently susceptible to opposing teams attacks who are frankly inferior to United on paper. On the bright side I really liked what I saw from Aaron Wan-Bissaka today, he was really initiating the attacking presence at times and set up a few really good opportunities in the first half. Nemanja Matic also looked calm and collected at times, but was also outmuscled on the header that ultimately led to Chris Wood’s goal. 

In my mind, on paper this United squad is way too talented to perform as plainly as it does, and except for the 2018 campaign, I’ve felt that way about this team for a while now. I can get over the fact that United doesn’t have a go-to-guy in favor of a team first approach on the pitch, but the starting 11 can’t even seem to adopt that mentality correctly. It’s not like Manchester United are going to grow a sack of nuts in the transfer market and bring in a superstar, the one legitimate superstar in Paul Pogba frankly doesn’t even really want to be there. So you might as well get the chemistry between your current players where it needs to be if you want to be worth a damn in the league.

This football club has generated a culture of excellence and winning traditions for far too many years, and has seen far too many legends come through this organization, just to have a mediocre season like this to show for all of their predecessors hard work.  Solskjær may not be out of a job by this time tomorrow, but a Feb. 1 matchup against the Wolves will tell us where United’s mentality stands after this humbling experience. The fans clearly aren’t behind United right now, and if they don’t redeem themselves at home once again, we could potentially be looking at the beginning of the end of United as a “Big Six” team, and sooner or later the name of Manchester United may not inspire as much respect as it did back then. 

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