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Roy Keane and Paul Ince beg to differ on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Man United future as one man stands accused


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Roy Keane says Solskjaer should get at least another year at Manchester United

Roy Keane says Solskjaer should get at least another year at Manchester United

Ed Woodward has backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be a long-term success at Manchester United (Martin RIckett/PA)

Ed Woodward has backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be a long-term success at Manchester United (Martin RIckett/PA)

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Roy Keane says Solskjaer should get at least another year at Manchester United

Manchester United hit rock bottom on so many levels as they were beaten by Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday and the debate over what happens next to the fallen giants of the Premier League will now begin in earnest.

We are about to find out whether United's damaged executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and the club's increasingly financially prudent owners are willing to back manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with some serious investment in a squad that is blatantly lacking quality in virtually every area, or whether they will follow their familiar path of changing the man on the touchline and hiding behind his failings.

If history is a guide, Solskjaer needs to be looking over his shoulder in the next few weeks, as this ownership structure have a track record of firing their touchline operators when the going gets tough and the accusing fingers start to get pointed in their direction.

Yet in the opinion of former United captain Roy Keane, that would be a mistake, as he offered a welcome high profile voice of support for his former team-mate in a heated exchange with his fellow Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher.

"What happened with the previous managers over the last three years, are you saying they are all bad managers," stated Keane, who has been in regular contact with Solskjaer during his time as United manager. "We question Ole that he's not up to it, we look at his CV, yet for some reason, other managers go to clubs and they're given the benefit of the doubt. I'd give Ole another year, certainly another year."

It made for captivating TV viewing after Liverpool moved 30 points clear of United with a 2-0 win against their great rivals, yet the bare facts make for grim reading for Solskjaer.

After 23 games of the 2018/19 Premier League campaign, United had 44 points on the board and were in a challenging position to secure a top-four finish. Roll the clock forward 12 months and they have just 34 points from the same number of games and appear to be in a worse state than they were when Solskjaer took the team on a winning run that secured him the full-time job after United lost at Anfield last season.

Lack of progress could be used as a reason to make a managerial change right now, with Solskajer's poor Premier League win percentage of 47.7% lower than any of the tacticians Woodward has appointed since he took control of United's football affairs, with their record of winning just three games away in the league all season offering compelling evidence that Solskjaer's side lack the nous to win on their travels.

Questions can be asked about Solskjaer's negative tactics, while he also needs to explain why he used leading scorer Marcus Rashford in last Wednesday's FA Cup tie against Wolves when he was carrying a back injury, with that decision backfiring horribly as the youngster is now expected to be out for an extended period after aggravating his injury.

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Yet could the out-of-work Mauricio Pochettino make an immediate impact at United if he was working under a Woodward-led structure that undermined the efforts of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho before Solskjaer was implanted as the club's latest saviour a little over a year ago?

It's a question that Woodward and the club's owners may be pondering in the next few weeks and in the opinion of former United midfielder Paul Ince, Solskjaer's time at United will end sooner rather than later, with the timing of his exit all that is left to be considered.

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Paul Ince.

Paul Ince.

Paul Ince.

"They have got a decision to make on Solskjaer sooner rather than later," Ince stated, speaking at a Paddy Power event in London. "Every time they lose a game, Pochettino's names is mentioned and other managers are linked with the job.

"United have to decide whether they are willing to back Solskjaer's vision or whether they go and get Pochettino before someone else does. As a club, you need to have a vision and stick with it, but you need to see some progress after a year. We are at that point now and the club has to decide whether they can see progress with Ole. If not, they need to make the change."

Ince went on to suggest Woodward needs to be replaced with as much haste as Solskjaer, in comments that will be echoed by many United fans.

"For me, a bigger problem is the man who seems to be in charge of transfer policy because Ed Woodward has a disastrous record that confirms he should not have any role in signing any more players for United," he added.

"I think you need someone in that role who understands what it means to play for Manchester United. It is a massive football club and you have to be ready for what hits you when you sign for them and I don't think a lot of the players they have bought in recent years get that.

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts during the Premier League defeat to Liverpool

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts during the Premier League defeat to Liverpool

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts during the Premier League defeat to Liverpool

"You have to train harder, deal with bigger expectations than anyone else and when I look at the signings in recent years, not too many would fit my vision of what you need to be a Manchester United player.

"They are going to have to buy quite a few players and I certainly don't think Ed Woodward is the guy who should be allowed to do that job. He's had his chance and he has been a disaster when it comes to transfers.

"Would Pochettino or any top manager want to work for United so long as Woodward is in such a prominent position? His track record is terrible and the managers tend to get the blame, so top managers might not want to sign up for that."

Keane and Ince may have alternative views on what should happen next to Solskjaer, yet the galling reality for United as they woke up from their latest Anfield hangover had to be that the gap now opened up between their once great team and the club Alex Ferguson famously knocked off their perch is bigger than it ever was.

It may take a generation before the damage done at Manchester United since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013 is repaired and while Solskjaer will be the latest fall-guy for the club's demise, those calling the shots above him need to look in the mirror when they go in search of their next scapegoat.

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