Manchester United v Liverpool match in pictures
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been openly challenged by a member of his squad over the decision to name Harry Maguire as United’s captain, according to reports. The Norwegian is under intense pressure after United were annihilated by rivals Liverpool 5-0 last weekend.
Solskjaer’s position has been scrutinised before, but to nowhere near the extent that it has this week, with the temperature cranked up to almost unbearable levels for the United chief.
Despite concerns amongst the Old Trafford hierarchy, Solskjaer has been given a brief reprieve, with the United boss set to remain in charge for this weekend’s Premier League clash at Tottenham.
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But rumblings of United’s interest in Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte as potential replacements for Solskjaer refuse to go away.
And a new report which highlights his squad openly questioning his decisions is the latest blow for the beleaguered United chief.
According to The Times, Solskjaer spoke to his squad after the damning 4-2 loss to Leicester City a couple of weeks ago and invited his players to tell him what had gone wrong.
But it appears that move may have backfired, with sources indicating that the players didn’t hold back – with one even challenging Solskjaer on his decision to hand Maguire the captaincy back in 2020.
There could hardly be a worse time for that report to emerge when you take into account Maguire’s recent form.
The England defender made a shock return to the United line-up for the defeat at Leicester, despite no one expecting the 28-year-old to return from a calf complaint.
Unfortunately, Maguire endured a torrid afternoon against his old side and was to blame for the Foxes’ opening goal before they went on to overpower United with a late goal blitz.
Solskjaer went on to admit after the match that he was at fault for rushing Maguire back, admitting that “when you concede four, I’ve probably made a few bad decisions.”
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But unfortunately, for Solskjaer and Maguire, the defender’s form hasn’t picked up in the games since.
Maguire failed to inspire again during United’s pitiful surrender to Liverpool, with the defender and his England team-mate Luke Shaw making a calamitous error in the build-up to the Reds’ second goal.
There were also question marks over the United captain’s role in Liverpool’s third goal, with Mohamed Salah seemingly coasting in front of a cluster of United defenders, including Maguire, to net the first of his spectacular treble.
It’s now just one clean sheet in their past 21 games for United – a staggering statistic that doesn’t exactly cover Solskjaer or his captain in glory.
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