Have Manchester United turned a corner after their win at Goodison Park on Saturday, or is it a false dawn?
After a run of unconvincing performances that left manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under pressure to keep his job, United pulled off a 3-1 victory against Everton and in so doing registered their most consecutive Premier League away victories – seven – since 1993.
In fact, you have to go back eleven months to January 19th to find the Red Devils’ last away league defeat, conceded on the other side of Stanley Park at Anfield. Since then, Solskjaer’s men have gone 11 undefeated.
Yet many remain unconvinced by the run. The fact that the home form is almost as bad as the away has been good remains a cause for concern.
‘Don’t be fooled by Manchester United… Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has tried to develop a siege mentality, but his team are totally unconvincing,’ says The Daily Mail’s Dominic King.
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will not be able to rebuild the trust with just one win.’
The reporter suggests that Solskjaer is trying to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson in creating a them-and-us, siege mentality at Old Trafford. However, he argues it is unconvincing, copy cat play-acting rather than the real McCoy.
‘The trouble was, none of it was convincing; neither the performance on the pitch that had Maguire screaming, ‘Get in!’, nor the tantrum from Solskjaer that was aimed at the TV companies.
‘He said he’d had concerns for a month about the timing, so why didn’t he raise them publicly then?
‘The Manchester United players were happy with the win, but it was unconvincing overall.
‘Everton were wretched… They gave United their three goals.
‘Yet Everton still had ample opportunity to inflict significant damage.’
King cited former United captain Roy Keane’s words after the home defeat to Arsenal, saying that nothing has changed after a further 90 minutes of football.
Keane had said ‘They react for a few weeks, then they get carried away with themselves and think, “We’re a team now.
‘I’d love to be sitting here and say they look like a great bunch of lads, but my eyes don’t lie to me.’
Yesterday’s results added weight to the argument. Many said that United’s home defeat to Arsenal was conceded despite the Gunners themselves being in poor form and this was borne out by a wretched 3-0 home defeat of their own yesterday against Aston Villa.
‘While the backslapping and congratulating suggest they believe they turned a corner at Goodison Park, what they showed in the 90 minutes that preceded the happy scene was far from compelling. United did not make you feel they are back,’ King concluded.
The reporter’s allegiances are unknown, but the article comes across as written by a fan who has seen one too many false dawns from Solskjaer’s United to get excited about the future, rather than from a bitter rival fan who resents any sign of progress from United.
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