Home » Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: The Times analyses Manchester United manager’s shortcomings in the UEFA Champions League

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: The Times analyses Manchester United manager’s shortcomings in the UEFA Champions League

by Raj Dholakia


Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been under massive scrutiny by fans and the media after the club’s 2-1 humbling to BSC Young Boys in the Champions League.

After going down to ten men, United registered a shocking 0.00xG (expected goals return) and had a total of two shots for the entire match.

Solskjaer has now lost seven of his eleven Champions League matches as manager of United.

Paul Hirst (The Times) discusses Solskjaer’s shortcomings at the European stage and the critical issues faced by his side.

Shambolic Defending

In the two away games against Istanbul Basaksehir and BSC Young Boys, Man United were undone due to shocking defensive errors and some individual mistakes.

Against Istanbul, Demba Ba was left unmarked on the halfway line and had a free run to score the opener.

Tuesday’s game saw similar mistakes, with Jesse Lingard’s misplaced pass in the dying minutes of the game costing United the three points.

Tactical Naivety

In last season’s final two games of the group stage, United needed a mere point to go through to the round of 16.

However, the Red Devils lost both games and were completely outplayed by the opposition.

Against Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford, United missed many clear cut chances to kill the game off. They eventually went down to ten men following a second yellow card for Fred. PSG won 3-1 on the night.

In the all-important final game against Leipzig, Solskjaer’s side were outplayed tactically by Julian Nagelsmann’s energetic team.

Hirst mentions: “United needed just a point to qualify from their group, but they suffered a shock defeat against the team they had beaten 5-0 in the reverse fixture two months earlier.”

“Solskjaer played three at the back to match up Leipzig’s wing-back system, which seemed a wise idea. The only problem for Solskjaer was that Aaron Wan-Bissaka had one of the worst performances of his United career.”

“His positional discipline was poor throughout. The £50 million full-back kept being dragged into the middle of the defence, which was already packed with three centre backs.”

“That left Angeliño with a huge amount of space, and he took full advantage, scoring Leipzig’s opener in the second minute and then setting up Amadou Haidara, who made it 2-0. Wan-Bissaka allowed Angeliño to cross for Justin Kluivert for the third.”

If Solksjaer wants to go far in this year’s competition, he must learn to rectify his mistakes and make braver decisions during the game’s crucial moments.

United yet have five matches to play and should comfortably make it out of the group stage.

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