Analysing Manchester United’s defeat to Wolves and how Solskjaer’s key men need to step it up!


After last night’s gut-wrenching defeat to Wolves, Manchester United need almost maximum points from their remaining fixtures in order to secure a place in the top four. But despite playing well, things are starting to turn against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team – the big players need to step up.

Listening to both the players and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talk after the game last night, the overriding emotion from them all was disbelief. “How have we not won that game?” was the quote from Scott McTominay‘s interview with MUTV after the match.

Unlike the FA Cup game, the team started on the front foot and at pace. Solskjaer and his staff had devised a system which was counter-acting Wolves’ strengths. United were well on top.

But over the past couple of weeks, where previously big moments had gone their way, they are now starting to go against them. Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard both missed chances where a month ago they would have taken them no problem.

However, when this opens, you have to make sure that you continue to play well and create chances. Don’t sulk and continue building the pressure.

But two of United’s biggest stars looked as if they were sulking, David de Gea and Paul Pogba. Neither seemed to be at all interested in trying to win a crucial game for the club.

It’s difficult to think of many players who really deserved above a six in the player ratings last night. How many were above average? McTominay, Fred, Diogo Dalot and possibly Victor Lindelof are the only certainties. That was about it.

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Ole won’t be too upset as the performance aspect was there. Unlike against Watford and previously against Wolves, United played well. However, if things aren’t going their way and suddenly they aren’t getting the rub of the green, big players are going to need to step up.

At this time of the season, points are everything. And historically Manchester United always finish the campaign strongly. With a tough run-in, they can’t afford many more slip-ups. As Solskjaer said last night, “we need 15 points.”

That may help the players. A target. Something to work towards. The 2018/19 season – one which was originally petering out – is now well and truly alive with consequences on their every decision, right or wrong.

There is no need to panic. Solskjaer has been given a three-year deal and undisputedly deserves it. There was always going to be a bit of a lull at some point given the heights the team have reached thus far under the Norwegian. Unfortunately, it has happened at the defining point of the season.

Had you given 5th place to Solskjaer and the team in December when he took over from Jose Mourinho, everyone at the club and connected with it would have taken it. But due to how well they have played since the festive period, they are victims of their own success.

One man who will be calm is Mike Phelan. A man who has been in this exact position, usually higher up the league table it must be said, but with something to play for come April and May.
One man who will be calm is Mike Phelan. A man who has been in this exact position, usually higher up the league table it must be said, but with something to play for come April and May. /

For Michael Carrick and Keiran McKenna, it’s a new experience. For many of United’s players, it is a new experience. Gone are the days of the Neville brothers, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, you name it, passing on their wisdom and reassuring words around the changing room.

But one this is for sure, all the players will be better for it next season.

And importantly, the fans also need to remain calm. Two games into Solskjaer’s permanent career as United boss and certain members of the Twitteratti are calling for players heads. Clearly, they have forgotten their importance and quality throughout United’s recent impressive run.

Thank goodness Twitter wasn’t around in Ferguson’s era otherwise he would have been sacked in the 1988-89 season following an 11th place finish.

In my eyes, yes, Champions League football is at stake and therefore finishing in the top four is vital for the club. But it is a bonus if we do get it considering it had been written off four months ago.

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The club, as well as the team on the pitch, have come a long way since then. The fans need to sit back, think and then realise that we could still be sixth, playing boring football, with a manager who blamed everything and everyone but himself.