Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick expects that it’s going to be harder and harder for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to hold on to his job at Old Trafford.
It’s been a nightmare start to the season for the Red Devils, losing six of their last twelve games in all competitions, including embarrassing 5-0 and 2-0 home defeats against rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, respectively.
Chadwick has long backed his old team-mate Solskjaer to turn things around, but even he now concedes it’s not looking good for the Norwegian tactician.
“It pains me to say it, but the whole club just seems to be lacking confidence,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside. “We got 2nd last season, reached the Europa League final and it felt like there was something building there, but it does seem to be falling apart again a little bit.
“It’s a really tough time. Solskjaer can’t play the game, he puts the players on the pitch and they’re just not performing.
“I do think it’s going to be incredibly hard for Ole now, when a manager’s under pressure the performance levels can drop a little. There wasn’t enough effort or heart in the performance on Saturday.
“Ole and the players are the only people who can turn this around, but it’s going to be so hard … they could win the next four but another defeat will bring the pressure back to what it is now.”
Chadwick says that, from his experience, managers rarely manage to turn it around in situations like this.
“I remember when I played for West Ham in the Championship and Alan Pardew was under so much pressure. I’ve been in dressing rooms like that and the manager usually doesn’t survive,” he told CaughtOffside.
“Pardew managed to stick at it and ground out a few wins and then the team suddenly found a bit more confidence again and ended up getting promotion. But that’s the only time in my career I can remember the pressure getting like that and a manager coming out of it. It is so hard, and at a club like Manchester United that pressure on the manager is magnified even more.
“The manager has to take responsibility at the end of the day, but I’m sure everyone at the club’s hurting. The pressure’s almost at breaking point now, they need to go into this next run of games and win more or less every one of them.”
Could Brendan Rodgers be the man to turn things around? CaughtOffside understands that the Leicester City boss has reached a verbal agreement with Man Utd, but it remains to be seen if he’ll be ready to leave the King Power Stadium in the middle of the season or wait until the start of the next campaign.
Chadwick has previously spoken to us of his admiration for the work Rodgers has done at Leicester, and he admits the Northern Irish tactician would probably get more of a reaction out of these players than Solskjaer is right now.
“When a new manager comes into the club there’s usually an immediate reaction,” Chadwick said. “I think it would be hard to say Rodgers would radically change the style – it’s still the same group of players – but there’d certainly be a reaction.
“There’s obviously players at the club at the moment that aren’t getting the playing time they deserve. A new manager can usually mean a clean slate, no one knows for sure if they’re in the team so there’s a reaction.
“What happens after that … Ole’s been there for three years now and it looked like something was being built but for one reason or another it’s not happened. So the club have to think about what to do, after building it all up do they knock it all down and start again, or is it time to back Ole? I feel that another defeat at Watford would probably make the position untenable really.”