Man Utd lost to PSG in the UEFA Champions League but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should not shoulder the blame.
As Kylian Mbappe glided through Manchester United’s defence at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, it was hard not to just sit back and be impressed.
Paris Saint-Germain totally outclassed United in the second half and if it wasn’t for David de Gea their advantage would have been more than the two goals they managed.
When the draw was made back in December even the most optimistic United fan would never have dreamed of getting a result against the French giants.
It’s testament to the work Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done since arriving back at the club that there was a belief United could not only get a result at Old Trafford but go on and book their place in the next round.
Presnel Kimpembe and Mbappe gave United a reality check with their second half goals and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rightly said the game would be a learning curve for his players.
United fans were understandably buoyant going in to the last 16 fixture and even as they watched their side get opened up at ease the support was still there.
Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole,” rang out of the Stretford End after Kimpembe’s volley flew past De Gea. The fans are more than aware United being exposed was not the fault of the Norwegian.
whelming Champions League night. The gulf in class especially exposed in the second half was not the fault of the interim manager, it’s a problem that’s been brewing in the background for years.
You just have to look at United’s transfer strategy since Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill left to realise that this result was years in the making.
PSG had class players all over the pitch and United’s only world class outfield player, Paul Pogba, was nullified by Marquinhos who man marked him out of the game.
Comparing PSG’s transfer activity with United’s since 2013, they’ve brought in a variety of youth and experience and known title winners including Marquinhos, Cavani, Draxler, Mbappe, Neymar and Dani Alves to add to a team already full of winners.
Yes, they broke all manner of transfer records and risked breaching FFP rules but they’ve created a squad capable of competing in Europe.
When Ferguson left United they were a team that needed rebuilding and the powers that be have failed to build a squad that is able to compete at a level with Europe’s elite.
Hence why United have been nowhere near the final of the competition since Ferguson left in 2013.
United since then have cherry picked big names such as Angel di Maria, a case which didn’t work out at all, and Paul Pogba which luckily is going much better. The other players who have been bought have either become fringe players, flops or regular starters who just aren’t that level of world class United need if they are to lift the Champions League again.
Proved with the lack of strength in depth of squad which exposed on Tuesday night when Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard went off.
Solskjaer and Ander Herrera refused to be drawn on the question that it was the injuries which affected the result of the game, but it was. The tempo of United’s forward line slowed down with the introduction of Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata and PSG worked their game plan to perfection in the second half.
A lot has to change if the club are to seriously compete in Europe again but Solskjaer is not to blame.
The Norwegian insisted the players needed to learn from Tuesday night’s defeat and it’s a message that should ring in the ears of Ed Woodward too.