Dubai: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to be on borrowed time after a farcical defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League.
Having lurched from one terrible result to another — costly losses against Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have them trailing way down in 15th spot in the Premier League and already nine points off league leaders Liverpool — Wednesday night’s humiliation in Istanbul seems to be the lowest ebb of a despairing few years.
The manager said the loss was “unforgivable”, with the first goal in particular showing up United’s shambolic defending.
United went behind after 12 minutes in Turkey when Edin Visca’s pass found Demba Ba in space at the halfway line and the striker ran forward before finishing past Dean Henderson.
To have one player lapse is accepted, but all 10 outfield players were caught off-guard, and something must change. While Liverpool and Manchester City have thrived during United’s crisis — that has now gone on way too long for a club of their size — owners and fans alike cannot put up with it for much longer.
The world’s top players no longer regard United with the same allure they once had, and unless the situation is arrested, things could get much worse before they get better.
Solskjaer also seems to have backed himself into a corner with his post-match autopsy.
“The first one is that we play a short corner and forget about the man up top. That’s unforgivable ... We’ve not done our roles, it’s my responsibility,” he said.
His responsibility ... For all the defiance of last season’s second-half renaissance, United appear to be back at square one, and it can be a very unforgiving game — especially for managers.