Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been fighting to keep his job for several months now and quite spectacularly, he has withstood the intense scrutiny but the pressure is reaching boiling point.
Prior to this afternoon’s game against Watford, Manchester United had registered just one win from their previous six Premier League games – a run which had left United with just 17 points from 11 games.
That’s now 17 points from 12 games, as an embarrassing 4-1 defeat has piled the pressure on Solskjaer. The loss to Claudio Ranieri’s side is United’s biggest to a newly-promoted side since 1989, according to Opta.
Following the game, Solskjaer and his players approached the relentless and were met by a split fanbase. Some were clapping the United hero but boos are also heard.
In perhaps the most telling development since United’s poor run began, Solskjaer apologised to the travelling supporters with a downbeat wave, and Bruno Fernandes is seen in the background arguing with the supporters who decided to boo the manager.
👋 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer apologises to the Manchester United fans at full-time as Man United suffer an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Watford pic.twitter.com/Tlt5dKaqfi
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 20, 2021
Ole Gunnar Solskjær holds his hands up to the away Manchester United fans after they're thrashed 4-1 at Watfordpic.twitter.com/Ch7cu1lMsF
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 20, 2021
Footage courtesy of Football Daily/Sky Sports
He seemed to be sparked by a few boos aimed at Solskjaer who had gone over to applaud the away fans who remained in the stand.
— Charlotte Duncker (@CharDuncker) November 20, 2021
Some booing (and some applause) from United away end as Solskjaer goes over to them at the end, and then Fernandes gesturing angrily at fans in response. Once/if the matchgoing United fans turn, it's hard to see how he can go on
— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) November 20, 2021
SN’s verdict on Saturday’s developments…
Clearly, there is a huge split between not only the fans but also the players. Towards the final months of last season, this United side was developing into a likeable team but that feeling has been washed down this year.
It does feel like there’s no turning back for Solskjaer now. One win in seven Premier League games is simply not good enough, especially considering the huge investments in the squad.
Fernandes is understandably upset to see fans boo the manager, Solskjaer did bring him to the club after all. But clashing with supporters only ends in a strained relationship.