United’s 2-0 loss to Burnley at home showed the deepening problems under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the urgent need for attacking reinforcements.
By the time the final whistle sounded at Old Trafford, the stadium was half-full. Majority of the home supporters had booed their side’s performance at the break and had little incentive to stick out until the end.
Solskjaer had the chance to close the gap on the top four after Chelsea’s draw with Arsenal. Instead, he is left to reflect on the eighth Premier League defeat of a wretched season.
The problems are mounting and the pressure rising on the man in the dugout-Solskjaer. Since the Norwegian appointment in March, United has lost more Premier League games than they have won.
It is remarkable that they sit as high as fifth but a defeat to Wolves in the next match could leave them as low as eighth.
Solskjaer can easily point to injuries as a contributing factor. His midfield is shorn of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay. Victor Lindelof was ruled out with illness against Burnley.
Was it Martial’s mistake?
In their main striker’s absence, the spotlight fell on Anthony Martial whose display raised familiar questions over his suitability to the role.
In the 16th minute, he was perfectly placed eight yards from goal to dispatch Wan Bissaka’s cut-back. But somehow, he failed to connect properly with the ball. When Nemanja Matic picked him out in a similar position patern in the first half, he dithered, allowing Burnley to recover.
On other occasions, he simply wasn’t there when the crosses came in. Instead, many of his best moments came when he dropped deeper into the areas, he feels more comfortable.
United’s failure to replace its natural striker, Romelu Lukaku is looking increasingly costly. Especially when the Belgian continues to score so freely for Inter Milan in Serie A.
It is evident Solskjaer is working in difficult circumstances and many of the problems at the club precede his appointment. But while there are many questions to be asked on the club’s hierarchy, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the man in charge of the team to defend his record.
There is a malaise setting in at Old Trafford and the half-empty stands prove it. Something needs to be done immediately.