Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick has piled the pressure onto manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the team’s 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa at the weekend.
The ex-Red Devil, who played alongside Solskjaer at Old Trafford, says that although the Norwegian tactician has clearly improved some things at the club and remains popular with the fans, he needs to deliver a trophy this season.
Despite a promising start to the campaign, there have been some bad results in more recent matches, and Chadwick admits he has been expecting better performances from Man Utd this season.
“Obviously it was a hugely disappointing result as well as performance. We expected more of the kind of performance we saw against Newcastle, but it was a real downbeat performance,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside. “We’ve not seen as much of that this season, though we saw it a bit last season.
“The fact that Bruno (Fernandes) missed the penalty at the end really hammered home what a disappointing day it was. The pressure is on again, and the mood is stark compared to how it was after that win over Newcastle.
“It’s not been a disastrous start to the season, but I just expected things to be a bit different this season, with the players on the pitch now, Varane, Sancho, Ronaldo … it does seem like Solskjaer is maybe under more pressure than some of the other managers near the top of the league, but that’s the nature of the beast at Old Trafford. A few wins are required now to quiet down the doubters, but with the money spent the pressure’s only going to get higher as time goes on.
“I think a trophy needs to be won this season. Ole’s done a good job of stabilising things, but at the end of this season it’ll be the time to judge and see where the club’s at. Progress has been made, they finished 3rd, then 2nd, but it would’ve made such a difference, I believe, if they’d won that longest penalty shoot-out ever at the end of last season and got some silverware.
“I think this season Ole needs to deliver some silverware, whether that’s in Europe, or the Premier League or the FA Cup, then we can judge and see how things have gone. That’s Manchester United, the pressure is high and the eyes are on them more than most other teams. That comes with the territory and he knows that, you could see he was frustrated after losing to Villa on Saturday.
“Let’s wait until the end of the season, we’ve seen before that being quick to make changes doesn’t always work and I think the majority of the fans are behind Ole. They can see the improvements that have been made, and the improvements to the squad in particular.”
Chadwick also still feels that it could still take a bit more time for Solskjaer’s side to gel, but hopes that maybe around Christmas we’ll see a more fluid side out on the pitch.
“The team is still quite inconsistent,” he said. “There have been some fantastic performances and some that were quite poor. I think it’s going to take a little bit of time to gel properly with Ronaldo in the team, and we’ve seen Sancho is still not starting. It’ll take time for the new players to gel. Varane’s made a good start but it’s just a matter of getting the team gelling.
“When Ole started they were an excellent counter-attacking team, but struggled to mix it up more against teams playing a lower block. That’s improved a bit but it’s still a case of doing it more consistently.
“Obviously the team can’t be incredible every week, sometimes they need to grind out results. I think that was the case against Villa, it wasn’t a great performance but it’s also disappointing we couldn’t grind something out of the game with that late opportunity from the penalty.
“Hopefully by Christmas we’ll see a bit more fluidity, but – no disrespect to Aston Villa – but these home games are the ones you need to be winning if you want to win a Premier League title.”