LONDON: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said prior to the humiliating 4-0 thrashing by Everton there would not be wholesale changes to Manchester United personnel in the close season, but Gary Neville, for one, believes he should think again.
United’s millionaire stars such as Paul Pogba and David de Gea put up a display described by the British press on Monday as “abject”, “an apology” for a performance, with the team derided as being generally “rudderless” and “spineless”.
However, whilst it came five years to the day when a 2-0 defeat by the same opponents cost David Moyes his job, it is not Solskjaer who is being targeted but the under-performing Pogba and his team-mates.
The World Cup-winning midfielder, after a series of encouraging performances when Solskjaer first assumed the reins in December, has returned to being the non-existent presence so often the focus of Jose Mourinho’s ire — although it was the Portuguese coach who was sacrificed.
His and Nemanja Matic’s failure to shore up midfield has been a contributing factor to United’s miserable run of six defeats in their last eight games and five successive away losses — their worst run on the road since 1981.
Seldom can a Manchester derby — they host title-chasing City on Wednesday — have been less eagerly anticipated by United fans.
Neville, United to the core and an integral member of Alex Ferguson’s side that accrued eight Premier League crowns and two Champions League trophies, was excoriating in his criticism of the players.
“If you’ve got weeds in the garden, you’ve got to get rid of them,” said Neville, who has become a respected pundit for Sky Sports.
“There’s some Japanese knotweed at that football club and it’s attacking the foundations of the house. It needs dealing with properly.
“I don’t need to name names, you know who they are.”