Brian McClair says Solskjaer paying price for United trophy failure

Manchester United haven’t won a trophy since the 2017 Europa League under Jose Mourinho.

That’s the Red Devils’ longest run without silverware for 31 years. and unacceptable for England’s biggest club.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer oversaw runs to the semi-finals of three competitions last season – the EFL Cup, the FA Cup and the Europa League.

United were defeated in all of them, at the hands of Manchester City, Chelsea and Sevilla.

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Solskjaer’s former United team-mate Brian McClair, who also had spells at the club as Reserves Manager, Reserves Assistant Manager and Academy Director has had his say on those failures.

Writing for the Set Pieces, McClair feels Solskjaer’s job would be a lot easier now if he’d scooped a trophy last season, but said his team selections at the crucial time contributed to United’s eliminations.

“I can’t help feeling things would have been a lot easier for my former teammate with a couple of trophies sitting in the trophy cabinet from last season – namely the FA Cup and Europa League.

“Both were more than winnable for a squad which belies its current league position and had it not been for some dubious team selections, it would certainly have afforded Ole a little more time, not to mention giving the players a well-needed boost.”

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In July, a rotated United side were outplayed by Chelsea at Wembley and seen off 3-1.

A shaky display from David de Gea also played a part on that day, but Solskjaer went with the 3-5-2 system which had earned two wins over the Blues at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season and his switch backfired.

By the time United lost to Sevilla, Solskjaer had settled on a first-choice eleven, and they were played so often that they were exhausted in that semi-final.

The Norwegian was reluctant to make changes until late on, as United let a 1-0 lead slip to lose 2-1.

Solskjaer also dropped Sergio Romero for both clashes, which led to the situation he finds himself in now; fourth-choice, having not left the club in the summer and discontented.

Mikel Arteta has the FA Cup in the bank at Arsenal as proof his reign is going in the direction and McClair has a point when he says Solskjaer could use something similar – having missed three opportunities last term.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.