Man Utd recover from Champions League exit with goalless draw in Manchester derby; Roy Keane on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "I think he has got to get his hands on a trophy"; Gary Neville: "In the next six to eight months, they have to dominate matches and dominate big games"
Sunday 13 December 2020 11:16, UK
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must deliver a change of style at Manchester United and, most importantly, win trophies.
That's according to Roy Keane and Gary Neville, who believe that fresh from United's early exit from the Champions League, Solskjaer still has points to prove over the rest of this season to demonstrate he can guide United back to the summit of English and European football.
Solskjaer's side showed defensive solidity but little going forward in their goalless draw in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford - a point Solskjaer was happy with - but the United legends want to see the club dominating games and lifting silverware.
"I think he has got to get his hands on a trophy," said Keane, "There's an obsession about getting in the top four, but l think Manchester United should be automatically doing that.
"I think by the end of the season Ole will have been in the job long enough to say do we think he is the man to get Manchester United back to challenging for titles. I still think they are behind Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea. But get your hands on some trophies."
But for Neville, it's as much a question of style as trophy substance that Solskjaer has to answer through the rest of the season.
"I think Ole has to start dominating games. In the last 12 months, where Manchester United have won games it has been through two forms of tactics. It's either been counter-attack or it has been in moments - Southampton and West Ham, in recent weeks. They aren't what you would really call performances, driving the other team into the ground. They are playing in moments.
"In the next six to eight months, they have to dominate matches and dominate big games. That will be the determining factor for Ole.
"They have to start playing as a team and perform. Today was 'OK', but it's not a tactic for Manchester United to win football matches in the long-term or to win titles. All the teams who win titles dominate football matches - dominating possession, being on the front foot and winning big matches. Ole hasn't got Manchester United there yet and he's been in the job two years.
"He's got a big seven months to deliver that. If he doesn't, he will be in trouble.
"Last season was massive, finishing third. That was a big, big moment for him. But now he has to got closer to City and Liverpool and dominate matches. I don't see it at this moment in time. The performances I am seeing are not anywhere near good enough.
"We know him - he won't think they are anywhere near good enough, he won't think that first-half performance at West Ham was anywhere near the standard that will get Manchester United to a title. They're not, they are nowhere near."
Two months ago when United were dismantled by Tottenham at Old Trafford, Neville described United as snatching "defeat from victory" over the summer as a result of their failure to adequately recruit in the wake of their qualification for the Champions League and he remains convinced that Solskjaer, like his predecessors, has been let down in the transfer market.
"I still have it at the back of my mind with this club that to allow a manager to win the title you have to arm him with the players to do so," Neville said. "He needed another centre-back, he needed another winger.
"Today, they had Paul Pogba on the left wing and Mason Greenwood on the right wing. They are still fudging it. They have six midfielders and they are trying to get them all in - square pegs in round holes, all the time.
"I don't think in the last five or six years they have given any manager a team that can win the title. And that's the job of the people upstairs. There is dual culpability in terms of why Manchester United aren't successful. But Ole has got to get close with that group of players."
For Solskjaer himself, he claimed the performance was better than they've ever played against City under his tenure, despite beating City three times last season.
He told Sky Sports: "It's a tight game, two good teams. I know we beat them a few times last season, but they were different games, we counter attacked them.
"Today was the most we've been in the game possession-wise, control, we kept them away from our box more, but they had a few moments. Tactically we knew they were going to give us some problems, and I thought defensively we were excellent.
"I'm delighted with the defensive shape, then again with the ball we didn't' create as much as we wanted to. Overall with a draw, everyone should be happy with that.
"[Champions League exit] was a big disappointment and a big setback, and mental challenge for everyone when that happens to you.
"We knew today was going to be a big game, so everyone was up for it, but of course the mental energy you spend trying to recover from Tuesday is high, so I thought the boys deserve praise.
"I thought we did well on the ball, and that was the reason behind some of the selections we did. We changed it slightly after half an hour, got Scotty and Fred more on the ball.
"[The glass is] always half full with me. That's just the way you have to look at it. In my time against City that's the best performance we've had. Not the best result, but the best performance."