Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic says the buck stops at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer if the club fails to compete for the Premier League title.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013, the Red Devils have struggled to maintain the standards set by the Scot and are now six years without an English league trophy.
Man Utd’s unconvincing start: Five things to know…
- Having finished sixth last season, Solskjaer spent £140m on three new signings to push on in 2019/20.
- A convincing 4-0 opening win against Chelsea, in which Daniel James scored, sparked encouragement at Old Trafford.
- That was followed up by a disappointing but not disastrous 1-1 draw away to Wolves.
- However, United have since lost 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace and drew with Southampton.
- Matip has now suggested that if Man Utd fail this season, Solskjaer will have to hold his hands up.
The Old Trafford club experienced something of a short-lived renaissance under Solskjaer last season but reverted back to bad habits towards the end of the campaign.
And despite enjoying a summer of replenishment by bringing in new players to suit Solskjaer’s system, as well as casting off some deadwood, the problems evident in 2018/19 are already festering this term.
As such, Matic is under no illusion about the scale of the task facing his current manager but was rather forthright when explaining that a failure to succeed will ultimately lie at the Norwegian’s feet.
He said: “The coach must opt for the team that will fight for the title and if he does not win, he bears the responsibility,”
On his omission from the starting line-up so far, Matic added: “I have been in football for a long time, I have played almost all the games for all the clubs in the last 10 years. In order for me to play, one had to sit on the bench and accept that fact, and so do I now.
“In the first two or three games, he picked the team without me. I work as hard as I can. We respect the decision, it’s up to me to show him that he was wrong and to bring me back to where I belong.
“There is no problem. I told him I disagreed with him but that he had to decide the team.”
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Scholes: Experienced players letting United down
Manchester United legend Paul Scholes also gave his verdict on proceedings at his old stomping ground, believing the likes of Matic are, in fact, holding the club back rather than Solskjaer.
Dissecting the Southampton draw, he said: “I am disappointed. It looked like from when the moment Juan Mata went off, actually. I was surprised because I thought if anybody is going to create something, it’s Juan Mata.
“But it wasn’t the young players I was disappointed with, it was more the experienced players. When Matic came on he constantly gave the ball away, Ashley Young gave the ball away, and I don’t know how many times Paul Pogba lost possession.
“These are the people that young players are looking up to, the examples you’re looking at.”