United slammed by legends after West Ham loss
Roy Keane, the former Manchester United captain, said it was “scary” how far his old side had fallen as he and Jose Mourinho led the condemnation of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team after a dismal 2-0 defeat by West Ham United.
United were punished for an abject performance as West Ham struck either side of half-time to condemn Solskjaer’s team to a seventh defeat in their past 15 Premier League games.
United have now failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their past 11 away matches, their worst run since 2002, and Mourinho said he could see no improvements from his time as manager of the club.
Solskjaer’s misery was compounded by injury to Marcus Rashford, who limped out of the second half with a groin problem. The United manager said he expected his primary striker to be out “for a little while”, leaving the side desperately short of attacking options following the departures of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Keane said he was “saddened” by his former club’s lack of quality and warned that it would be a “long way back” for United, who have taken eight points from their opening six games of the season.
“I don’t know where to start,” said Keane. “I knew they weren’t in a great place but I am shocked and saddened by how bad they are. You can lose a game of football but everything about United was lacklustre. No quality. A lack of desire. A lack of leaders. A lack of characters. It is a long way back and it is scary just how far they have fallen.”
Since their stirring victory over Paris St-germain in last season’s Champions League, which helped Solskjaer to be given the manager’s job on a permanent basis, United have lost 10 of 19 games, winning just five.
Mourinho, who was sacked in December last year, said: “We were bad last season but I do not see any improvements, even with three new players [Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-bissaka and Daniel James].
“I have to say, they are three new players with a positive impact. I like these three players and they are bringing some good quality but the team, as a team, I don’t like at all. I am not surprised by the result and I
don’t think Ole can take any positives from the game.”
It was United’s second successive away defeat against West Ham, who struck through Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell and had control of the match throughout.
Solskjaer rued key moments of the game which slipped through United’s grasp as he insisted that his side showed the desire he was looking for in his team.
“It is a good group to work with,” Solskjaer said. “They are determined. Sometimes, along the road we are going to hit some bumps, as we have said, some highs and some lows. The group is out there determined, they showed the desire we want to get out, it was a good atmosphere in the dressing room. They have got the focus right. They want to do what we are trying to do. We are working in training.
“There are key moments in games that can tip these games in our favour compared to theirs and you make maybe a bad decision on a pass, but the attitude and desire is there. That is not the problem. It is the quality in our decision-making, sometimes in the execution.”
Gary Neville, another former United captain, said Solskjaer would need four transfer windows to complete the construction of a playing squad he described as “depleted”.
United are now hoping that the injured Anthony Martial and teenage sensation Mason Greenwood, who was ill yesterday, will recover in time to face Arsenal next week.
“The squad is depleted and the away stand towards the end was depleted,” said Neville. “I can’t blame them. The coaches that have come in have been given money over the last seven, eight years but they have been let go when they need another year.
“Ole needs another three or four windows to get this squad up to the standard and a couple of hundred million pounds to do so. You can bring through young players, but you need that spine.”
Grim viewing: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said United’s decision-making was poor