It just was not meant to be for Manchester United and boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær, when they fell to Villarreal on penalties after a 1-1 draw which played out over 120-minutes. Questions are now already being asked whether or not the club or its manager are doing nearly enough to push it back to where many feel it rightly belongs.
Is Ole Gunnar Solskjær good enough for Manchester United?
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 26, 2021
This was the first chance for the former United forward to add his name on a major piece of silverware for the club since he took over for José Mourinho back in December 2018. Thus far, Solskjær has yet to hit the heights the club expects on an annual basis, despite there being some measure of improvement since his appointment.
In his first-full season at the helm in 2019-20, Solskjær pushed the club to third in the Premier League table after doing his best to right the ship after the club took on water in Mourinho’s final season. He would then do one better in 2020-21, finishing runner-up to rivals Manchester City, while also overseeing a push to the finals of a major trophy for the first time in four seasons. But is that good enough for the fanbase, or a club of the size and scope that United possesses?
Some have not waited long to heap criticism on the club and its headmaster, claiming the club have had their flaws laid bare once more, including criticisms for certain players the likes of David De Gea and Marcus Rashford, while also bemoaning the lack of the requisite depth in quality across the first-team squad. There is an awful lot of work to be done in the summer window for Manchester United if they are to go through a refit program commensurate with where the club aims to push on to, but further criticisms have cast their eye across the Atlantic as well.
Should the Glazer family demand more this summer?
There is hardly any love lost between Manchester United supporters and hated owners the Glazer family. Protest against their ownership this season already saw mass protests which culminated in supporters storming onto the Old Trafford pitch in a heated response against the clubs’ involvement in the failed attempt at establishing the European Super League. But another season without a trophy could cause further backlash and demands from the fans to right the wrongs on the pitch.
The upside from big defeats is that you can’t paper over the cracks. De Gea decline, Rashford loss of form, Solskjaer’s game management, lack of squad depth all contributed tonight. But do the Glazers care enough to address the key issues?
— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) May 26, 2021
For many, the question will always be whether or not the Glazers care enough about Manchester United to really hold those directly responsible for failure to deliver on the pitch. United have now gone four seasons without any silverware to speak of, while the last time they topped the Premier League was eight seasons ago in 2012-13 during Sir Alex Ferguson’s final year at the helm.
With many suggesting that the club needs to embark on a spending program in the summer to tackle a number of key areas including center-back, central midfield, and a forward to lead the line, demands for signings the likes of Harry Kane are sure to soon follow thick and fast. Others still could demand that Solskjær be removed from his post in the wake of both Antonio Conte and Zinedine Zidane leaving their roles at Inter Milan and Real Marid respectively. While such a move would surely show intent by ownership to place their faith in a far more seasoned manager that has a history of winning trophies, the same theory was attached to Mourinho’s appointment with mixed results. The Portuguese led Manchester United to Europa League success in 2016-17 but left the club in a real pickle after his departure. Regardless of what transpires moving forward, something will have to change if United are to push back atop their perch on the footballing landscape.