Manchester United were never expected to challenge for the Premier League title this season, but neither would anyone have thought they’d be quite so far off the pace.
The Red Devils are no less than 33 points adrift of front runners Liverpool, putting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future at Old Trafford in serious doubt.
United have won only one more league match than they’ve lost this season with their longest unbeaten stretch in all competitions lasting a mere six matches during December.
Solskjaer is under increasing pressure to establish some form of stability at the club, though with Champions League qualification gradually drifting out of reach, you wonder what the summer might hold for him.
Nevertheless, the Norwegian is confident he can guide United back to glory if he’s given enough time and appropriate resources.
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“We have to spend wisely, that’s one of the keys for me,” Solskjaer said via the Mail.
“We’ve spent loads of money in the past five or six seasons, since Sir Alex [Ferguson] left, and I’ve got to make sure with the club that when we spend the money now it’s on the right types. When we sat down we all agreed, the club and I, that the culture had to change.
“It’s not like I’ve been told without my consent what we’re doing, because we agreed to things when we signed contracts.
“I don’t fear for my position in that respect, I just keep working. Of course you need results but I won’t spend big money on someone to come in here now if they’re not right for the club.”
It’s no secret that United have fallen well behind Liverpool and Manchester City since the end of the Ferguson era, though perhaps their route back into contention will be far longer-term than many initially expected.
As quoted by the Mirror, a football agent who worked with the Red Devils said: “United are absolutely miles behind Liverpool and Man City – and not just in terms of the Premier League table.
“It’s estimated that for every year a club continues to fail, it is going to take between 18 months and two years to make up that lost ground.
“United have been sinking fast since Fergie retired – so work it out.
“They’re at least 10 years behind their biggest rivals in terms of having the right structure to put a team capable of winning the title and the Champions League on the pitch. And that’s being kind.”
A lot can change in a decade.
This time in 2009, United were top of the Premier League with a two-point lead above Liverpool and a game in hand, while Aston Villa were comfortably sitting in the top four.
No matter which manager is tasked with resurrecting the Red Devils, there’s a growing sense they’ll be chipping away at it for a long time.News Now - Sport News