The pressure is already well and truly on Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. United have endured a nightmare start to the new Premier League season, which has led many to already write off their chances of finishing in the top-four.
Last Sunday’s humiliation by Tottenham – who ran out 6-1 winners at the Theatre of Dreams – has sown a huge seed of doubt amongst the Old Trafford faithful.
United’s mauling at the hands of a rampant Spurs isn’t their sole display of defensive ineptitude, with the Red Devils showcasing equally as bad defending in their opening day defeat to Crystal Palace and their last-gasp victory over Brighton late last month.
Scoring goals has also been a problem for the team that was once the most feared in the Premier League, with Solskjaer’s troops only finding the back of the net five times so far this season.
In a bid to stop the haemorrhaging, United went on a major spending spree before Monday’s transfer deadline – securing the services of four new players.
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Pressure is already mounting on Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
But in keeping with the club’s traditions and values, Solskjaer could turn to youth to alleviate his side’s current woes.
When it comes to stopping his side’s apparent inability to prevent teams from scoring at will, the 47-year-old could introduce two youngsters to his defence.
Following his recent promotion to the first-team, the introduction of right-back Ethan Laird could be an avenue Solskjaer chooses to explore.
£50million signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka has struggled so far this season and has shown very little to justify his hefty price-tag.
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The introduction of Laird could be the kick up the backside Wan-Bissaka needs to get in gear and provide some stability to a floundering back four.
Speaking of players who need a kick up the backside, the most expensive defender in the world is also in need of a wakeup call.
England international Harry Maguire has been atrocious this season, with his positional awareness and normally solid decision-making seemingly deserting him.
If Solskjaer wants to send a message to the centre-back, he should begin to integrate 18-year-old Tendi Mengi into the first-team.
The former United Under-18’s skipper made his debut for the club last month against LASK and impressed many with his calmness on the ball and defensive prowess.
Solskjaer may be reluctant to throw him in at the deep end right now, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
United could also be well served by injecting some youthful exuberance into the heart of their midfield, which has equally been at fault for the club’s recent results.
The introduction of the in-form Hannibal Mejbri – who has been a standout performer for United’s Under-23’s – would do just that.
Mebjri showcased his immense talent last month in United’s EFL trophy rout of League Two side Salford City last month, providing two assists and scoring one goal.
It will be a long time before Solskjaer considers handing Mejbri a start. But given the team’s current situation, it’s something he should contemplate in the near future.
Manchester United will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, travelling to St James’ Park to take on Newcastle.
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