The discontent at Manchester United continues with under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly questioned by one first-team player over why he appointed Harry Maguire as captain of the club.
The Red Devils are going through turmoil at present, having conceded nine goals in their last two Premier League matches – a 4-2 defeat at Leicester City on October 16 that was followed up by a humiliating 5-0 home loss to bitter rivals Liverpool on Sunday.
And according to reports, a clear-the-air meeting between players and management occurred just two days after the former result – with players not holding back on their opinions.
Harry Maguire’s status as Man United captain has been reportedly questioned by a team-mate
Maguire was officially named United captain in January 2020 – just six months after joining
In a clear-the-air meeting, one unnamed player questioned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision
The Times claims that one aspect that had irked a member of the squad was the elevation of Maguire as captain just six months after joining the club.
The England centre back was signed in an £80million deal from Leicester in August 2019 but by January 2020 he was handed the armband on a permanent basis.
The 28-year-old was picked ahead of the likes of David de Gea and Marcus Rashford who were longer-serving members at Old Trafford and had been skipper at times during that 2019-20 season.
‘He’s [Maguire] come in and been a leader in the group. I’ve been, not surprised, but I’ve been impressed by his leadership skills, so Harry will keep on wearing the armband,’ Solskjaer said at the time.
‘He’s come in and everything about him tells me he is a leader. He’s part of a group that we’ve had, that have been leading this young group.
‘Ashley [Young] has been of course, Marcus is a young lad, but also David, Harry. So Harry will keep on wearing the armband now.’
David de Gea had captained United during 2019-20 too and was a longer-serving member
The Maguire captaincy situation wasn’t the only issue discussed though during the meeting.
Another player criticised some of his team-mates for an apparent lack of motivation in training.
Solskjaer’s tactics and favouritism was also lambasted, as another member asked him why he is so resistant to change a losing team – especially when others are performing well in training.
As reported by Sportsmail; despite the mounting pressure, Solskjaer is set for a stay of execution as manager but is still fearing for his long-term future at the club.
Solskjaer took training at Carrington on Tuesday for the first time since United’s 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool, a display labelled ’embarrassing’ by senior players.
Solskjaer’s tactics and refusal to change a losing team have been questioned by one player
The Norwegian is preparing the team for Saturday’s trip to Tottenham amid a backdrop of intense scrutiny and some members of his squad questioning whether the slide can be halted under his management.
Sportsmail understands that United – who gave Solskjaer a new three-year contract over the summer – were planning to review the 48-year-old’s position in December.
The galling surrender at Old Trafford last weekend has, however, accelerated that process. Board-level talks between co-chairman Joel Glazer, Ed Woodward and managing director Richard Arnold took place on Monday.
United had not been prepared for such a dire run of results, with Solskjaer’s side losing five of their last nine games.
The club’s board has so far resisted the calls for change, with the Norwegian expected to remain in charge at Spurs. Sir Alex Ferguson and former chairman Martin Edwards visited Carrington on Tuesday afternoon, with United insisting the pair were attending a pre-planned commitment.
The Norwegian will stay as Manchester United boss but his long-term future is in doubt
Solskjaer’s position nearly became perilous after a 5-0 home loss by arch-rivals Liverpool
United were planning on reviewing Solskjaer’s position in December and that has not changed
Ferguson has been a champion of his former striker and there has always been reticence to change at the top when United have fallen on troubling spells of form in previous campaigns.
Yet Solskjaer now faces three huge games – Tottenham, a Champions League clash at Atalanta and then the derby against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City – that look likely to determine his prospects.
Solskjaer is currently in the middle of a rare full week on the training ground in an attempt to arrest the slump in form.
Solskjaer’s United play Tottenham, Atalanta and Manchester City in their next three games
Some players have privately raised concern over the tempo of sessions and believe they are being consistently outsmarted tactically by opponents.
Glazer, based in Florida, has been watching developments with interest but senior United sources were adamant last night that no approaches for potential successors had been made after Antonio Conte, the former Chelsea boss, expressed an interest in a move.
Although formerly of Liverpool, Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers has admirers at United – along with Ajax’s Erik ten Hag.