Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will lose his job this season, believes Roy Keane. The Red Devils suffered their third defeat within just the first six games of the Premier League season with a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.
United are winless in four matches at Old Trafford, where all of their defeats thus far this season have come.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second-half penalty inflicted a deserved loss on the Red Devils with Solskjaer’s side well below the levels they set in the midweek Champions League thrashing of RB Leipzig.
And Keane is confident that Solskjaer will “pay the price” for his side’s inconsistency in the not too distant future.
“There’s been ups and downs for Ole during his spell here. Last year you’re thinking they finished the season strongly, three semi-finals, but three semi-finals for United is not good enough,” the former United midfielder said on Sky Sports.
“We were kind of building this season up to be almost make or break for Ole and at this moment in time it’s not looking good for him.
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“He talked about the players there and I’m always intrigued, we forgive players for making mistakes or having an off day but when you’re listening to a manager talking about, ‘Well we didn’t start well, enthusiasm…’ I scratch my head at players who don’t have enthusiasm for a game of football.
“We spoke about the Champions League game during the week, the Champions League games are chalk and cheese compared to what a Premier League challenge brings to you.
“The fact players don’t turn up today and don’t have a go until the end, the race is almost over. They’ll have that now with this league campaign. I never thought for one minute they’d be challenging Liverpool and Man City but the way they’ve started, the top four even seems out of reach.
“Sometimes you say, ‘Well there’s no need to panic.’ But the results and the performance suggest he should be panicking because it’s not been good enough. He says they’re good boys and they want to win but I judge players by their actions, we don’t see that from this group of players and my eyes don’t lie to me.
“I’d love to be sitting here saying they look like a great bunch of lads and saying they’ll bounce back but this group, their last huge disappointment was only three or four weeks ago, not three or four months ago. They’ve not won the 10-15 games, this team can only react for a few weeks, they can’t get carried away and think, ‘We’re a team now.’
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“The manager’s job, I’ve never looked at a manager in all my career – I’m talking about great managers, some bad managers going back to when I was eight or nine years of age – I never looked at them to say, ‘Are you going to motivate me today?’ That comes from within, that comes from the DNA and what you stand for, your background, your family, your team-mates.
“You look at the warm-ups and I’m intrigued by the warm-ups, [Edinson] Cavani never tried a leg, he actually didn’t do a warm-up, and then he’s coming on as a sub for United to get them back into the game. Ole’s talking about, ‘We have to get him up to speed.’ Sometimes it’s up to the player to do something.
“Ole will pay the ultimate price. Ole will lose his job working with this group of players. As night follows day, that’s what is going to happen. I’ve been saying it for the last month or two. You still think, ‘Well you never know, you never know in this game, things might change.’
“Do you think it’s up to Ole to motivate these players to turn up against Arsenal at home? People keep saying as Ole mentioned there, there’s no supporters and stadiums are empty, but this is still a great setting if you’re a professional footballer, to play at Old Trafford. I still look at this place when it’s empty and it’s fantastic.”
United had come into the season hoping they could begin to bridge the gap to Liverpool and City at the summit but they already find themselves nine point behind the league-leading Reds, though they have played one match less.
Keane added: “Where do you want me to start? We spoke before the game saying they want to be on the front foot, they’re the home team, their home form has been poor obviously.
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“They were none of those things and on top of all there was a lack of energy, of enthusiasm, and a real lack of quality. That really concerned me.
“The second-half, they got into half decent positions when they were chasing the match but no quality, no composure. Some performances really, really poor.
“Ole once again will be scratching his head. We keep talking since the Spurs game, have they turned a corner? It’s the longest corner ever. I am just not convinced by these players. We all talk about characters at United, I just don’t see enough.
“I looked at [Marcus] Rashford closely today. He’s had loads of plaudits over the last few months and I know he’s a young man. His body language was shocking. Shrugging his shoulders when things didn’t go his way? You roll your sleeves up when you play for Manchester United.
“When things aren’t going your way, that’s when you look at your leaders. I don’t see any leaders out there. Right through the whole team, from the experienced players.
“I am really, really worried about Manchester United now. I think the last year, year and a half, you give them the benefit of the doubt.
“Recruitment, blah, blah, blah. What’s happening upstairs, there’s problems. But what I saw today, Crystal Palace, Brighton, Spurs, even Chelsea, a real lack of quality at Manchester United and a long, long way back for this club.”
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