Manchester United were too passive in their Premier League defeat to Leicester on Saturday, while it is becoming increasingly clear that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still unsure of his best XI or how to make his team greater than the sum of their individual parts.
For the third Premier League game in a row, United as a team ended up being considerably less than the sum of their individual parts. They arguably haven’t played well since the opening day of the season six long weeks ago against a very open Leeds side at Old Trafford.
On the face of it, United should be doing much better. To a man, they have one of the best squads in the Premier League, full of attacking depth and options.
But when the teams took to the pitch at the King Power, Leicester just seemed to want it more. They played at a high tempo, looked more cohesive as a unit and looked to have an actual game plan.
When United took the lead through Mason Greenwood thunderous long range effort, it was completely out of nowhere and against the run of play.
United could have gone further ahead when Kasper Schmeichel instinctively threw up an arm to deny Cristiano Ronaldo later on in the first half. It wouldn’t have been deserved.
Ronaldo was largely quiet. He’s of an age where he won’t influence games unless he is provided with decent service in the right areas and, despite being supported by Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho, that wasn’t there.
Pogba got lost in a deeper role, while Fernandes was too in and out of the game to change things. Sancho still deserves time to settle following his £73m transfer from Borussia Dortmund but it was another appearance in which he didn’t do himself justice.
Defensively, midfield didn’t offer enough protection for the back four and was outpaced and outwitted by Leicester’s trio throughout proceedings. At the back, individual mistakes, notably from a sluggish Harry Maguire after being rushed back from injury, meant it was far from polished.
Leicester took full advantage of everything that is wrong with Solskjaer’s United at this moment in time. This squad should be so much more, but they need to act like it and the manager will know he must find the key sooner rather than later or pay the price.