Graeme Souness: Manchester United players are to blame for poor situation, not Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

"That's why I stopped being a manager a long time ago, you can't demand it from them anymore. Instead, you're asking them. I think at the end of every sentence you end up having to say please"; Man Utd sit 15th in the Premier League with seven points from six games

Man Utd Graeme Souness piece
Image: Graeme Souness insists the players are to blame for Manchester United's current situation

Graeme Souness insists Manchester United's players are to blame for their current predicament, not manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Manchester United go to Everton on Saturday sitting 15th in the Premier League having registered just seven points from six games, and fresh from a disappointing 2-1 defeat by Istanbul Basaksehir in midweek in the Champions League.

Solskjaer retains the support of Manchester United and is still seen as a long-term appointment, Sky Sports News has been told, having come under fresh scrutiny for recent performances.

Manchester United
Image: Manchester United players look dejected during their 2-1 defeat by Istanbul Basaksehir

But Sky Sports' Souness insists United's players have got the club into this situation, and questioned whether Solskjaer's players are looking in the mirror.

"I have been a manager, I've been sacked, I've been a manager under pressure, and it's not an easy time for Ole. He's only ever been one game away from everything being wrong at the football club, and that's the price on the ticket when you're at Manchester United.

"I read in a newspaper that the players wouldn't be against a change: the players have got Manchester United into this situation, not Ole! The players have underperformed. But the way football is these days, all the focus is on changing the manager.

"You ask your players to constantly look in the mirror and ask: can I do more? I wonder if any Manchester United players are doing that right now. Or is it the easy route, the exit hatch: 'Get rid of the manager and everything will be fine'.

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Image: Solskjaer insists he will be successful at Manchester United and trusts his players to respond following back-to-back defeats

"Sometimes these players have to stand up and be counted, and there's less and less of that in the Premier League now than there has ever been. If I was a Manchester United supporter I'd be unhappy reading that the players wouldn't be against a change."

Souness, a manager himself at eight different clubs in the 1980s, 90s and 00s, insists the modern-day player now needs to be asked to give the effort that would have been a given during his time in the game.

"Don't talk to me about the modern player, their attitude and responsibilities they seem to shy away from today. That dressing room needs to have a close look at itself, collectively and individually, as to why they're in this situation.

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"There are some very good players in that dressing room: stand up and be counted now. For yourself first and foremost, then your families, then for your manager and football clubs.

"That's why I stopped being a manager a long time ago, you can't demand it from them anymore. Instead, you're asking them. I think at the end of every sentence you end up having to say 'Please' today. 'Please can you run a bit harder… please can you be more aggressive… please can you give everything'.

"They were givens, and that should be a given! You're at a big football club at United, you never play easy games, every game you play is a cup final for the opposition. From the outside looking in, a lot of them are in their armchairs, looking to blame other people."

Follow Everton vs Manchester United in our dedicated live blog on the Sky Sports website and app from 11am on Saturday, with free highlights to follow after full-time

Ole: I will be successful at Man Utd

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United manager 0:52
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he has to stick to his methods to turn round Manchester United's form

Solskjaer insists he will be successful at Manchester United and trusts his players to respond following back-to-back defeats.

Asked on Friday if he is certain of being successful at the club, Solskjaer said: "Yeah, why wouldn't I be? If I don't trust my beliefs and values, my staff's qualities and the quality of my players, who else should?

"I don't look at one or two results and fall like a house of cards. It's a setback, definitely, but I think there's been too much made of not scoring against Arsenal and Chelsea, because there's been more or less nothing in those two games.

"It's not long ago that we were the best thing since sliced bread when we beat RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain. There's ups and downs in football and that's just the way it has to be and you've got to have that belief in yourself and belief in the players."

Read more from Solskjaer's Friday press conference here

What's gone wrong for Man Utd?

Mauricio Pochettino 1:03
United We Stand editor Andy Mitten says Mauricio Pochettino would be favourite to come in if circumstances change for Solskjaer

Manchester United looked to be heading upwards when they qualified for the Champions League following a strong end to the 2019/20 season. Fast-forward three months and they are 15th in the Premier League and reeling from an embarrassing defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir.

Manchester United were supposed to push on this season, they were supposed to build on that late surge which secured a top-four finish on the final day. Instead, they have made their worst start since the David Moyes era, and worst start at Old Trafford in almost half a century. After all the promise, how did we end up here?

Here, we look at the reasons why it has gone from for Manchester United

Merse: Everton is biggest game of Ole's tenure

Manchester United players cut dejected figures during their match against Spurs
Image: Manchester United have just seven points from six Premier League games

Paul Merson says Solskjaer's next game against Everton is the "biggest of his managerial career" as he tries to get Manchester United's season back on track.

"Solskjaer will be under severe pressure. Let's be honest, this is Manchester United, the biggest club in world football, and where they are in the league is not acceptable. It's not like only two or three games have gone. And not only that, the performances have been poor.

"The way they capitulated against Tottenham, Arsenal weren't great but did a job on them. United looked lost, and then they went to Istanbul, who are not a top European team, and they have been beaten.

"If Solskjaer gets to Saturday [away at Everton], it will be the biggest game of his managerial career so far, if he gets to Saturday."

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