Pressure mounts on Man Utd stars to prove their worth



Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has survived to face Tottenham on Saturday despite incessant speculation over his future at Manchester United following their humiliating 5-0 drubbing by Liverpool.

But away from the issue of the manager’s job, pride is at stake for United’s expensive collection of world-class talents, who are under pressure to respond to stinging criticism over recent weeks.

A club-record victory for Liverpool at Old Trafford was a new low during Solskjaer’s nearly three years in charge, but continued a worrying trend for the Red Devils.

United have taken just one point from the past 12 on offer in the Premier League to fall eight points off leaders Chelsea after just nine games.

The expected challenge for a first league title since 2013 already looks over, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in menacing form. United’s first priority is to ensure they do not become detached from the battle for a top-four finish.

Failure to qualify for the Champions League has been the death knell for previous United managers in recent years, as David Moyes and Louis van Gaal know to their cost.

United thought those days were behind them when they spent more than £130 million ($180 million) on Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane to bolster a squad that finished second in the Premier League last season.

Despite scoring six goals in nine games, Ronaldo’s presence has undoubtedly had a destabilising impact, with the lack of Edinson Cavani’s industry noticeable in a dreadful defensive record.—Reuters

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