Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must prioritise fixing Manchester United’s ‘leaky’ defensive set-up, says Paul Scholes

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks on during Manchester United's Premier League defeat to Liverpool

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under intense pressure at Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

Paul Scholes is hopeful Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can turn the dire situation around at Manchester United and believes his former team-mate must first look at fixing his ‘leaky’ defensive set-up in order to ‘stop conceding chances and stop conceding goals’.

The Red Devils suffered one of their most painful defeats of the Premier League era at the weekend as bitter rivals Liverpool thumped them 5-0 at Old Trafford, with Mohamed Salah completing a hat-trick and Naby Keita and Diogo Jota also scoring.

It’s understood United’s board have considered sacking Solskjaer ahead of the side’s trip to Spurs and Antonio Conte, formerly head coach of Chelsea, Inter Milan and Juventus, is being heavily linked as a possible replacement.

Scholes was scathing was his assessment of Sunday’s wretched performance, singling out Mason Greenwood for criticism while also suggesting that Paul Pogba may have played his final match for the club after his red card at the Theatre of Dreams.

However, speaking to the Webby & O’Neill YouTube channel 24 hours on from the loss, the legendary ex-United midfielder stressed that it was ‘only three points’ and backed Solskjaer to ‘try and find a way forward’.

Asked whether the Norwegian can turn it around, Scholes replied: ‘You’d certainly hope so. It was a humiliating day for everyone involved with the club: the fans especially, the players worse I suppose and the manager worst of all.

‘He will feel responsible for that. To be fair, I think when you’re playing against a team like Liverpool, the way the team was set up wasn’t quite right.

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‘I and a few people saw it on the Wednesday night against Atalanta. Everyone got carried away a little bit with the performance in the second half from what was a first half that was really disappointing against a poor team.

‘And we played exactly the same way against Liverpool which I found surprising and we got what we deserved really.

‘Can he turn it around? I hope so. We played with Ole for years and he’s a resolute character. He came out fighting and at the end of the day it’s only three points. You don’t get anything more, you don’t get anything less.

‘It’s a little bit embarrassing but now he’s got to try and galvanise the team and try and find a way forward.

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‘I think we’ve got the players and the talent in the squad. Yesterday, yeah, you could say the gap was massive, but I think it was the way the team was set up.

‘If he can set the team up in a way that isn’t as leaky or gives as much space to these better team then I think we’ll have half a chance because there’s no doubt the talent in the forward areas is good, world-class at times.

‘You’ve got Cristiano [Ronaldo], brilliant goalscorer, young Mason [Greenwood], Marcus [Rashford], [Anthony] Martial coming back, so there’s some real talent in that squad. They just need to get the defensive side right and we know this team will score goals.

‘But more importantly they have to stop conceding chances and stop conceding goals.’

Paul Scholes looks on during Manchester United's Premier League clash with Leicester

Scholes hopes his former United team-mate can turn the situation around (Picture: Getty)

Scholes added: ‘Players sometimes get away with it and you have to say that the players really haven’t performed over these last three or four weeks,’ he added.

‘Okay, the manager will bear the brunt of it, of course he will, and it’s up to him to turn it around.

‘The fixtures aren’t as friendly as you would have liked: Tottenham away, Atalanta away and Manchester City at home.

‘It’s three points, a disastrous day, but they’ve got to fight back now. He has to find a way of stopping teams looking like they’re going to score goals against us.’

Scholes appears to fancy United’s chances ahead of their trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Spurs suffering back-to-back defeats away to Vitesse and West Ham.

‘The players will be hurting and the manager will be devastated for these next two or three days, but you’ve got to get over it,’ he went on.

‘There’s nothing you can do. Look forward to Tottenham and Tottenham aren’t a great team.

‘But it’s going to be a difficult place to go with the form we’re in.’


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