United slammed by leg­ends af­ter West Ham loss

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Sam Dean

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

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