Manchester United’s shock exit against West Ham in the League Cup means that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s wait to win his first trophy as the club’s boss will definitely go beyond February.
Maybe the Norwegian is focusing his efforts on rekindling the 1999 treble campaign, when he played under Sir Alex Ferguson and famously scored the Champions League winner against Bayern Munich in the Nou Camp.
After reaching the semi-finals in the last two years, Solskjaer would have hoped his side could have gone all the way this time around.
But that wasn’t to be the case, instead United’s focus is now on mounting a sustained title challenge and ensuring we qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League before our participation in the FA Cup starts in the New Year.
Solskjaer has little margin for error
With the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham all progressing into the League Cup fourth round, it was United who were the biggest scalp in round three.
It now means that Premier League and Champions League games in particular will bring greater scrutiny for Solskjaer.
Despite sitting joint top of the Premier League, the defeats against Young Boys and the Hammers have halted the momentum and feel-good factor surrounding the club.
Following the defeat in Switzerland, the pressure on Solskjaer to get a win against Villarreal has intensified.
With three home games in a row before the October international break, a win in all three could see us sitting top of the league and in the top two spots in our Champions League group ahead of our trip to Leicester in mid-October.
Progression in the League Cup would have meant that Solskjaer could keep the vultures away for a little longer, but if we had progressed we would have drawn Manchester City who knocked us out a the semi-finals stage in the last two years.
League Cup elimination means United have little margin for error for the rest of the campaign, but with the stakes higher in the Premier League and Champions League, Solskjaer will stick to his best team.
Getting knocked out at the third round stage hurts, but if we go on to lift a major trophy in May, the pain will be worthwhile.
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