Manchester United v Liverpool match in pictures
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Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba’s angry reaction to Sunday’s defeat at Liverpool serves as a key indicator of the club’s growing list of internal problems under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Norwegian boss currently finds himself under significant pressure to deliver rapid results after taking just one point from his side’s last four Premier League outings.
He was subjected to the biggest humiliation of his managerial career on Sunday at the hands of Liverpool, who ran riot at Old Trafford with a five-star performance.
Goals from Naby Keita and Diogo Jota fired the Reds into the lead early on before Mohamed Salah’s brilliant hat-trick condemned the hosts to their most embarrassing defeat in recent memory.
Pogba was dropped to the bench for the visit of Liverpool but was introduced as a second-half substitute with the game already out of sight.
He was promptly sent off for a reckless challenge on Keita to add further insult to injury for United on their darkest day for many years.
The Frenchman refused to speak with Solskjaer in the dressing room after the full-time whistle despite apologising to his team-mates, according to The Sun.
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Pogba’s decision to ignore the United boss appears to substantiate recent claims that the latter no longer enjoys the unequivocal backing of his senior players.
Solskjaer is currently facing the toughest period of his time in charge of United and looks to be facing an uphill battle to regain the support of his squad.
He is expected to remain in the dugout for Saturday’s trip to Tottenham and could be given up to three matches to save his job after United chiefs decided against sacking the 48-year-old on Monday.
However, it seems as though Solskjaer has already passed the point of no return, with his days likely to be numbered regardless of whether the Red Devils can end their dire run of form over the next two weeks.
It is often a difficult task for a manager to win back the support of his most important players after the ship has sailed.
A number of other key figures at United are said to have joined Pogba in their opposition to Solskjaer, making their views clear in a training ground meeting on Monday afternoon.
According to The Athletic, the Red Devils boss asked his side for their thoughts on the issues causing them to leak chances on a weekly basis.
However, more than one player reportedly concluded that Solskjaer was the man responsible, serving as further evidence of the internal discontent at Old Trafford.
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Although it would not be impossible for Solskjaer to get his players back onside, the nature of Sunday’s defeat against Liverpool may have extinguished all hope for the former United forward.
It has been demonstrated on plenty of occasions that losing the dressing room is usually a turning point in the lifespan of an elite-level manager.
At a club like United, where expectations could not be higher given the scale of the club’s summer transfer business, the weight of the extra pressure makes Solskjaer’s task even more difficult.
It remains to be seen whether the former Cardiff City and Molde boss will be able to justify his position over the coming weeks as United go in search of a quick-fire return to winning ways.
However, it will seemingly be crucial for Solskjaer to register a win over Spurs in the club’s next outing to stand any chance of honouring the final three years of his current contract.
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