Jermaine Jenas has slammed Manchester United’s woeful first-half performance against Watford on Saturday and believes the players have now given up on the manager.
The Red Devils endured a miserable run of results prior to the international break, suffering embarrassing back-to-back home defeats against Liverpool and Manchester City and collecting just four points from a possible 18.
Solskjaer desperately needed to bounce back against Watford at Vicarage Road – which begins another crunch run of games – but the side gave arguably their worst display of the campaign in the first 45 minutes.
The hosts should have gone ahead early on, missing from the penalty spot, but dominated proceedings with 11 shots on goal compared to just two for United in a dreadful first half.
That pressure eventually paid dividends when Josh King – a former academy player at Old Trafford – put Watford ahead from close range before Ismaila Sarr, who had missed from the spot, finished off a fine move with a powerful finish.
United’s board were still believed to be backing Solskjaer going into the Watford game, but Jenas feels the time has come to finally pull the trigger even if they pull off a comeback and says the players are no longer responding to the Norwegian.
Speaking on BT Sport after United shipped their second goal of the afternoon, Jenas said: ‘They’re not playing for him. The bottom line of it is that.
‘I’ve played in games where all of a sudden you look around and you say, “This just don’t feel right”. And you know the manager is under pressure. They’re not playing for him.’
He continued: ‘There’s been a lot of sensitivity around Ole and his job, and sometimes it’s just about performances.
‘He changes the formation every two minutes, one good performance, then a bad performance, two good, three bad – that’s not what United are about.
‘And this is just a team that’s not playing for the manager right now is all I’m seeing.’
Jenas added: ‘They don’t believe in what he’s asking them to do so they’re just half-hearting everything. If Watford are working harder than Manchester United, that is a problem in itself because that doesn’t happen at Liverpool, it doesn’t happen at Manchester City, it doesn’t happen at the top clubs.
‘So those players are not responding to whatever they’re doing in training, whatever tactics are being asked of them on a weekly basis.’
Following their clash with Watford, United face difficult away trips to take on Villarreal in the Champions League and then Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before a resurgent Arsenal visit Old Trafford at the start of December.
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