Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under huge pressure to produce a run of results at Manchester United following a disastrous run of form which has left his side with just 17 points from their opening 11 Premier League games.
Last week’s 2-0 defeat against Manchester City was particularly damning, a loss which extended United’s winless run at Old Trafford to four league games.
Heavy investments were made over the summer, with Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane, and Cristiano Ronaldo all joining the club in high-profile transfers. Sancho, who was the subject of a two-year-long transfer saga, has struggled in his first couple of months.
Last week, there were reports that Solskjaer had tried using Sancho as a wing-back in training – claims he has now been criticised for by former Manchester City defender Danny Mills.
“Good luck turning him into a wing-back!” Mills told Football Insider. “He didn’t play for England too much in the Euros because I don’t think he was reliable enough to track back and do the defensive side of it. Dortmund never played him there.
“You bought a winger who is going to create chances and score goals. Suddenly you’re going to play him at wing-back in an unbelievably leaky defence. It’s like, really? That’s almost a sackable offence in itself.
“Shall we put Cristiano Ronaldo at centre-half because he can head a ball? I think Ronaldo can head the ball better than the centre-halves at the moment so should they put him at centre-half?
“It’s more than a little bit ridiculous.”
SN’s verdict on Mills’ comments and Solskjaer’s future…
The idea of experimenting in training shouldn’t be banished from football and Solskjaer’s decision to try Sancho in a new position shouldn’t cause anyone to criticise him.
Clearly, Solskjaer’s side are in limbo and the switch to a three-at-the-back formation was somewhat successful prior to the 2-0 loss to Manchester City.
Sancho was also in desperate need of turning his situation around but in the three games that United player with wing-backs, the 21-year-old didn’t start any, a clear sign that it remained a mere experiment in training.
One week has passed since the defeat to Manchester City and we are yet to receive clarity on Solskjaer’s job security but pressure will increase if United don’t improve in the coming weeks, with a win against Watford next weekend paramount.