They say with the start of a new season comes optimism, however absurd or unrealistic. Yet, at Manchester United it’s hardly the case: there’s a sense of pessimism among the Red Devils, almost like they’ve been shown a potential disaster that lies in their defense.
It’s easy to understand their sense of trepidation considering they ended the season with just two wins in 12 games, finishing sixth in the league.
Former Old Trafford striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer started his managerial stint, first on a temporary basis, like a house on fire, 12 league games unbeaten (the first six being wins), and two months after the grumpiness of Jose Mourinho seemed like a long time ago. But things went downhill after Solskjaer got the job on a permanent basis as constant underperformance highlighted the palpable flaws within the squad.
Those flaws are one of the reasons why there’s a lingering sense of discontent from the fans.
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Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward and the owners continue to take a fair amount of flak for not investing significantly in the squad focusing on the business side of things; although some players have been brought in this summer. Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have joined to strengthen a faulty backline, while Daniel James from Swansea is another young arrival in attack.
But the squad is still short in midfield as it is quite reliant on Paul Pogba, who hasn’t really been at his best despite ending last term as top scorer and assist maker. Then there’s the attack, with Romelu Lukaku seemingly on his way out, and the others not quite being up to it.
Solskjaer needs to hit the ground running but as last season showed, that may not be an indicator of sustained success. It may be a long season ahead at the red side of Manchester.
Written by Kunle Ajao (twitter: @_kunleajao)