Saturday provided no shortage of talking points as the Premier League returned after the international break.

Manchester United suffered another heavy defeat, this time at the hands of Watford, and it will likely be one too humiliation too many for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

There was also a harsh dose of reality fed to Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, as they were given a bruising by Liverpool at Anfield.

But two new managers began their respective tenures with victories, as Aston Villa and Norwich City each hope to enjoy a prolonged 'new manager bounce'.

Below, Stats Perform looks through the pick of Saturday's Opta facts…

Watford 4-1 Manchester United: Writing's on the wall for Solskjaer

Another week, another humiliating defeat for United and Solskjaer – Watford were the latest side to toy with the Red Devils.

United's loss was their biggest league defeat to a promoted side since a 5-1 reverse to Manchester City in September 1989, and it took them to 20 goals conceded this season already.

Only in 2001-02 (11 games) have United conceded 20 or more after fewer than in 2021-22 (13 games), while this is the first time Watford have ever beaten them in successive home league games.

United were still in with a shout at 2-1 until Harry Maguire's first red card in 121 appearances for the club, but it all fell apart thereafter.

It looks set to be the result that costs Solskjaer his job.



Leicester City 0-3 Chelsea: Foxes intimidated by pacesetters again

Most would have expected Chelsea to get a proper examination of their title credentials here – who knows, maybe this was a real statement.

Either way, Thomas Tuchel's men saw off Leicester City with great authority, or so it seemed.

In reality, Leicester actually have a dreadful record against teams starting the day top of the table. Granted, the side at the summit is usually fairly handy, otherwise they wouldn't be setting the pace, but Leicester's run is particularly poor.

They are now winless in 17 league games against the team that started the day top of the table, conceding 40 goals at a rate of 2.35 per game.

In the process of winning here, Chelsea moved level with Tottenham and Manchester City with the most away wins (five) at the King Power Stadium in the top tier.

Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal: Gunners come crashing back to reality as Reds continue domination

Although Arsenal came into the weekend in good form, having not lost any of their previous 10 matches in all competitions, there was more than a hint of predictability about their Anfield defeat and the manner of it.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have scored more Premier League goals against Arsenal (37) than any top-flight side has against another opponent since October 2015, which in itself is a fairly damning indictment of the Gunners' fall from grace.

Mohamed Salah got Liverpool's third goal of the game, which was also their 100th against Arsenal in the Premier League, a haul they can only better in meetings with Newcastle United (105).

It was the fifth time this season Arsenal have failed to score in a league game, with only Norwich and Watford (both seven) having a worse record.

The Gunners aren't "back" yet.

Aston Villa 2-0 Brighton and Hove Albion: Gerrard off to winning start

Steven Gerrard began his tenure as Villa boss in positive fashion, seeing off Graham Potter's Brighton.

It was a largely unspectacular bow for Gerrard but Villa eventually got the job done with two goals late on, making the Liverpool legend only the club's third permanent manager to begin with a win in the Premier League.

Ollie Watkins was the man to get the first goal of the Gerrard era, taking his tally to a club-high 17 strikes since the start of last season in the top flight.

There was also a first assist of the season for Ashley Young, who set up a Villa goal for the first time in 10 years and 189 days.

Norwich City 2-1 Southampton: Smith lifts Canaries off the foot the table

The man who made room for Gerrard at Villa, Dean Smith, also began the latest chapter of his career with a victory.

Norwich initially trailed to Che Adams' goal, but they turned things around as the Canaries came from behind to win a Premier League game for the first time in five-and-a-half years, or 36 matches.

But if they were going to end that run against anyone, the Saints would have been a good bet – since Ralph Hasenhuttl took charge in December 2018, they have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the Premier League (67).

Grant Hanley got Norwich's winner, his first Premier League goal in nine years and 324 days since netting for Blackburn Rovers against Manchester United in December 2011.

Bruno Fernandes has refused to single Ole Gunnar Solskjaer out for blame following Manchester United's humiliating 4-1 defeat against Watford on Saturday, insisting it is a collective failure.

Josh King, Ismaila Sarr, Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Bonaventure helped themselves to goals against the Red Devils who had Harry Maguire sent off after receiving a second yellow card.

The result means United have won just once in their last six Premier League games, losing four and conceding 12 goals in that run, with pressure intensifying on Solskjaer's position as manager. Indeed, a board meeting is rumoured to have taken place in the wake of the loss.

Fernandes however, instead directed the blame for the side's poor form at the team as a collective unit.

"It's everyone's fault," Fernandes said to beIN Sports after the game. "It's not the coach, it's not one player or two, it's everyone. Everyone has to take responsibility because everyone has to do better, everyone. Not one of us can say 'I'm doing well'."

Fernandes feels United only turned up for one half of the game and described the first half as "sloppy", while also highlighting the Red Devils' defensive issues.

"We [played like a wounded animal] but just for one half and that is not enough in these kinds of games in the Premier League," Fernandes continued. "It's not enough playing just for one half.

"Watford are a good team, they are aggressive, they have quality up front, and if you give them chances, you will concede goals. That has been a problem for us for many games and I think the attitude in the second half was there but in the first half, it was too sloppy from everyone.

"We didn't go on the front foot, we didn't tackle, we didn't win our duels and against these teams, you have to do that. You have to try to keep the same intensity as them and after that, show your quality, show why you play for Manchester United."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claims Donny van de Beek will soon "reap his rewards" at Manchester United.

Van de Beek joined from Ajax for a reported £40million last season, but chances have been sparse for the 24-year-old at Old Trafford.

The midfielder has started just four games for United in the Premier League, his last coming against Wolves in May, while appearing just 21 times in the top-flight for his 528 minutes.

United supporters greeted Van de Beek's introduction off the bench against Manchester City two weeks ago with rapturous applause, highlighting the faith they have in the Netherlands international.

Solskjaer joined in with the praise for Van de Beek as the Norwegian pinpointed his work ethic ahead of Saturday's clash with Watford.

"I think our fans can see a top professional and a very good player," Solskjaer said. "And Donny is one that has never ever let himself or his team or his family down by his attitude.

"His approach to the game and training is spot on. I can't fault him, and he knows that.

"I keep in contact and I speak to him and communicate with him because it's not easy when players are not playing as much as they think they should do, and Donny thinks he should be playing more and he will be involved.

"I can't say anything other than he's another example of what to do when you're not in the team and he'll reap his rewards."

Van de Beek was looking to feature at Vicarage Road as United attempted to bounce back from four losses in six league games, as many as they had in their previous 40 matches in the Premier League.

But the Red Devils were expected to be without Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, who has a tendon injury.

"Unfortunately he felt something in one of the last sessions before City and he had to pull out of the game because he didn't feel right. We've got to give him time to feel right," Solskjaer added.

"I can't give you a timescale if it's tomorrow or Tuesday or Chelsea. We'll see how he is, that's important."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged Jesse Lingard's disappointment at a lack of playing time following rumours suggesting contract talks with the midfielder had collapsed.

Various publications claimed on Thursday that discussions over a new Manchester United deal for England international Lingard had broken down.

The 28-year-old's contract is due to expire at the end of the season, and United seemingly look set to lose a valuable asset on a free transfer.

The speculation has stoked criticism of United's decision-making, given the club almost certainly could have fetched £25million for Lingard in pre-season after he enjoyed a scintillating loan spell at West Ham.

Between his Hammers debut in February and the end of 2020-21, Lingard scored nine times in the Premier League, a haul bettered by just five players.

Only one of those was a penalty, leaving him with a non-penalty expected goals (xG) outperformance of 4.7, the second best record in that time.

That form earned him an England recall, and while he was ultimately left out of their Euro 2020 squad, Lingard had given himself a solid platform to build on upon his return to United, but Solskjaer has not rewarded him with the playing time he feels he deserves.

"Jesse is training really hard, really well and he's ready and available for me," Solskjaer said ahead of the trip to Watford after being asked about the rumours around Lingard's contract talks.

"He's disappointed he's not playing more. In regards to contract situations and talks, I've not been in them very closely.

"For me, Jesse is still a big part of this squad and important, and he gives quality to the group every day.

"Every player wants to play as much as possible, with Jesse and all my players.

"They're working really hard, I can't fault the attitude when they're called upon. Jesse has done well when he's played for us, and with the games coming up, he's going to play a part."

In that respect, the busy schedule over the next eight weeks could potentially see United turn the situation around.

They have 11 fixtures in all competitions before the end of the year, a hectic run that will undoubtedly lead to some squad rotation.

Lingard will be hopeful of capitalising on that given he has played in just five Premier League games this season.

Despite a lack of game time, his tally of two goals is bettered by only Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood, all of whom have played more than 10 times as many minutes as Lingard's 63.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes being under pressure at Manchester United is normal and vowed his players would produce a strong response against Watford.

United travel to Vicarage Road in the Premier League on Saturday amid huge speculation over Solskjaer's job security.

Demoralising home defeats against main rivals Liverpool and Manchester City have increased criticism of the United manager, with his team already nine points behind leaders Chelsea after 11 matches.

But asked if he felt safe in his job, Solskjaer replied: "Yeah, the players, the staff, myself, the club - we are working to one goal which is to improve and get better results.

"When you lose a game you are always disappointed and under pressure – we have been communicating openly and honestly. 

"The fans are still supporting the team and the club, they have been through this period and backed the team through the rebuild.

"There is one game that matters and this week has been really good for training.

"Form and performances haven't been good enough. We can do better, should do better and it's down to performances on the day. I am sure we will see a reaction."

Solskjaer believes a lack of confidence is hindering United but reminded his players that consistent runs of form are not too far in the rear-view mirror.

Watford have lost 12 of their 14 Premier League matches versus United - against no side have they lost more – and Solskjaer is optimistic going into the latest meeting.

The 48-year-old added: "We've been through periods like this before. Our away form, we have just gone 30-odd games and lost one. 

"Last season we turned it around and went on a run of 20-odd games and one defeat and that is the kind of run we need to get back.

"Human beings, sometimes you hit the post and it goes out, sometimes it goes in. That can affect the mood and atmosphere.

"We have got to focus on getting the start of the match right. It has been a very determined and focused group this week."

Solskjaer revealed he had spoken with the club hierarchy during the international break but stressed that was normal.

He added: "Of course, I've been in contact and communicated with the club as I do all the time anyway.

"It has been a long international break but it's one that we've utilised to our benefit, we feel it's been a good response from the players and we are ready for the Watford game.

"We have had a chance to work with a lot of players on quite a few things because of how many international drop-outs we had.

"The players love playing football and winning. When we left each other 13 days ago no one was happy when they left Old Trafford. But then there is another game."

Injured France duo Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane will be out for some time, but Solskjaer was optimistic about the rest of his squad.

"I've got to say this week has been really positive," added the Norwegian. "Of course, there are a couple of doubts with illnesses and small niggles.

"Paul is out still for a while, Raphael is out for a while still but apart from that, players will be coming back, call it in the near future - some this weekend and some during the week." 

Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford have been involved in training this week, while Edinson Cavani is doubtful to feature.

United are winless in three Premier League matches against promoted teams after drawing against West Brom, Leeds and Fulham last season. Not since 1997 have they gone four such games without a victory.

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward insisted the club's "top priority is success on the pitch" amid growing doubts over manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future as the Red Devils struggle this season.

Solskjaer is under mounting pressure after United were outclassed 2-0 by neighbours Manchester City in the Premier League derby prior to the international break, having been humiliated 5-0 at the hands of Liverpool last month.

United have lost four of their past six games as the Red Devils already find themselves nine points adrift of leaders Chelsea ahead of Saturday's trip to Watford.

Woodward – who is due to leave his role at the end of the year – backed Solskjaer as he announced United's latest financial results.

"While these financial results today demonstrate our resilience through the pandemic, our top priority is success on the pitch," said Woodward.

"The manager, players and everyone at the club are determined to achieve that objective."

United have lost four of their last six league games (W1 D1), as many as they had in their previous 40 in the competition (W24 D12). Four points is United's fewest over a six-game spell in the Premier League since November-December 2015 under Louis van Gaal (three).

Meanwhile, United are winless in three Premier League matches against newly promoted teams, drawing against West Brom, Leeds United and Fulham last season. They have not gone four in a row without a win against such opposition since a run ending in September 1997 that saw them fail to beat Sunderland, Derby, Leicester City and Bolton.

 

 

 

Manchester United are relying on Cristiano Ronaldo to save them in every game and should have replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Antonio Conte, according to sprint king and Red Devils fan Usain Bolt.

The pressure is growing on Solskjaer following a disappointing start to the campaign, with United winning just seven of their opening 16 games in all competitions.

Solskjaer's side have been soundly beaten 5-0 by rivals Liverpool and 2-0 by Manchester City in their last two home Premier League matches and are sixth with 11 games played.

Conte was touted as a contender to replace Solskjaer after the Liverpool loss, but he has since taken over at top-flight rivals Tottenham as Nuno Espirito Santo's successor.

Bolt, a life-long United supporter, believes the club should have been more proactive in moving for the Premier League and Serie A title-winning coach.

"I wanted Conte," he is quoted as saying by The National News. "He is going to do so well at Spurs. He is going to get them organised.

"He has been at Chelsea – he won a title. He's been at Inter – he's won a title. He's been at Juve – he's won titles. Everywhere he goes, he structures the team so well. 

"In January, he is probably going to get one or two players, then at the end of the season he is probably going to find proper players and bring them in."

United had been expected to challenge for the Premier League title in Solskjaer's third full season at the helm after bringing in Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Ronaldo.

While his team may have struggled this term, five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has been prolific in front of goal with nine strikes in 12 matches across all competitions.

That includes a last-gasp winner against Villarreal and dramatic late goals to rescue four points home and away to Atalanta in the Champions League.

Eight-time Olympic champion Bolt, who has been in attendance at Old Trafford this season, feels Ronaldo is being given too much to do on his own.

"We are going to struggle," he said. "Cristiano has saved us every game. One guy has to do all that work. We have not played good football in so long.

"It is so relaxed. We pass so slowly. When Alex Ferguson was manager, we had to win because he would demand you win."

United return to action following the two-week international break with a trip to Watford on Saturday.

Xavi has his work cut out at Camp Nou following his appointment as Barcelona head coach.

Barca have struggled on the pitch amid off-field turmoil and financial problems.

But Xavi wants to make Barca great again and he reportedly has his eyes on some players across Europe.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA EYE TRIO

RB Leipzig star Dani Olmo and Manchester City pair Ferran Torres and Raheem Sterling are transfer options for Barcelona, according to Thursday's Mundo Deportivo.

Xavi is now at the helm of Barca and the club great is tasked with restoring the fortunes of the embattled LaLiga giants.

The Barca head coach is keen to reinforce his squad in either January or at the end of the season.

Barca have also been linked with Chelsea forward Timo Werner and Manchester United veteran Edinson Cavani.

 

ROUND-UP  

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Paul Pogba is set to leave United and Juventus are trying to re-sign the Frenchman, though his salary is proving problematic. Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and he has been linked with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

Inter are pressing Marcelo Brozovic to sign a new contract by Christmas, claims Gazzetta dello Sport. The Croatia international is reportedly wanted by Barca, Liverpool, PSG and United.

Steven Gerrard is expected to join Aston Villa as their new manager, reports Fabrizio Romano. The Rangers boss is set to be joined by his backroom staff at Villa.

Fiorentina are trying to sign River Plate striker Julian Alvarez as Dusan Vlahovic prepares to leave but Juve are also interested, according to Corriere dello Sport. Vlahovic has no plans to renew in Florence and the Serbia international has been linked with City, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Tottenham, Juve and Inter.

- The Mirror says United are confident of landing Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers as their new manager. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under mounting pressure at United and former Liverpool boss Rodgers has emerged as a target for the struggling Red Devils due to a release clause in his contract.

Dusan Vlahovic is believed to be Juventus' number one transfer target.

However, Juve are not the only club interested in the Serbia international, who is unwilling to re-sign at Fiorentina.

Juve are keeping their options open as they try to reinforced a stuttering squad.

 

TOP STORY – MARTIAL AND ICARDI EMERGE AS JUVE OPTIONS

Anthony Martial and Mauro Icardi are among the alternatives should Juventus miss out on Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, according to Calciomercato.

Juve are interested in Vlahovic, who has also been linked with Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Inter, Tottenham and Arsenal.

With competition high, United forward Martial, Paris Saint-Germain's Icardi, Benfica star Darwin Nunez, Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal and Sassuolo's Gianluca Scamacca are also being considered by Juve.

 

ROUND-UP

- El Nacional reports Real Madrid are targeting Juve star Federico Chiesa. The Italy international signed from Fiorentina on an initial two-year loan deal and Juve are desperate to make it permanent amid interest from Liverpool.

Manchester United are in no rush to sack embattled manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, per Manchester Evening News. Solskjaer is under pressure following humbling defeats to rivals Liverpool and Manchester City. Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers and Zinedine Zidane have been linked.

- Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks are among Roma's transfer targets, says Calciomercato. Roma are also determined to sign Denis Zakaria from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should hand over the baton and leave Old Trafford, according to former defender Rio Ferdinand.

Solskjaer is under mounting pressure after United were outclassed 2-0 by neighbours Manchester City in Saturday's Premier League derby, having been humiliated 5-0 at the hands of Liverpool last month.

United have lost four of their past six games as the Red Devils already find themselves nine points adrift of leaders Chelsea heading into the international break.

Solskjaer is yet to deliver a title since he became permanent United manager in March 2019 and ex-team-mate Ferdinand believes it is time for the Norwegian to move on.

"We started this season with such hope but also the transfer window that we had, the excitement, we were all sitting there going 'this is our time now'," Ferdinand – who won six Premier League trophies and the Champions League during his time at United – said on his Five with Vibe podcast.

"Ole was brought in to get us to that point. He was brought in to get the squad in-tact, get the players in to make us challenge for the league.

"I sit here now and I don't think we can challenge for this league. I look at our team every week wondering what are we gonna do tactically? 

"I don't see any philosophy or identity in the Man United way of playing whatever that should be from the management. I sit here looking confused at the team.

"I was always deep down a bit sceptical, could he take us on to be champions? I wasn't fully convinced – I wasn't sure he could do that. 

"But the showing with the squad that he accumulated, to the beginning of this season – and what I've seen this season – I just feel it might be about the time now for the baton to be handed over to somebody else who can take us on now.  

"And I think Ole would leave now with his head held high because, because from when he came in to where he got us at the beginning of the season I think it's been positive."

United are now without a clean sheet in their last 14 home games in all competitions – they have only had one longer run in their entire history without a home clean sheet, a 21-match run between April 1958 and March 1959.

Solskjaer's United have lost eight home matches in all competitions in 2021, their most in a calendar year since losing eight in 1989.

United have conceded 11 home Premier League goals in six fixtures Old Trafford this season, their most in their first six home league matches of a season since 1976-77 (also 11).

Meanwhile, United have taken just eight points in their last nine home Premier League matches (W2 D2 L5) and have lost consecutive home league matches without scoring for the first time since March 2014, when those defeats also came against Liverpool followed by City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future is in doubt as Manchester United continue to struggle.

United were outclassed effortlessly by neighbours Manchester City in Saturday's Premier League derby.

Struggling for form, Solskjaer could pay the price at Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER SET FOR AXE?

Manchester United are considering the departure of under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to the Daily Mail.

Manchester City eased past United 2-0 in the Premier League derby showdown at Old Trafford, where Solskjaer's side were left sixth and nine points off the pace.

There are reports of a player revolt as Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo grow frustrated with life in Manchester.

Zinedine Zidane and Ajax boss Erik ten Hag have been linked as possible replacements.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Real Madrid and Newcastle United are interested in Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. The Egypt international, who is contracted to Liverpool until 2023, is keen to sign a new deal at Anfield.

City are weighing up a move for Juventus and Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, says El Nacional. De Ligt has also been linked with Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.

Karim Benzema is open to joining Paris Saint-Germain should Madrid sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, per El Nacional. Benzema has reportedly snubbed a move to Newcastle, while Haaland has been linked with City, United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, PSG, Chelsea and Juve.

Gerard PiqueSergio BusquetsSergi Roberto and Jordi Alba will be allowed to leave Barca under new head coach Xavi, according to El Nacional. Fabrizio Romano adds Xavi will look to re-sign Pablo Gavi and Ousmane Dembele.

- Calciomercato claims Atletico Madrid are interested in Udinese's Nahuel Molina, who is also wanted by Inter.

Harry Maguire has labelled Manchester United's current form "nowhere near good enough" following Saturday's derby defeat to Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's side hardly had to get out of second gear at Old Trafford as an own goal from Eric Bailly and a close-range finish from Bernardo Silva sealed a comfortable 2-0 win.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had enjoyed a good record against Guardiola in previous league derbies, but United mustered just one shot on target throughout the match as they slumped to a fourth defeat in their last six top-flight outings.

City had 67.4 per cent possession and managed 16 attempts to United's five, with David de Gea having to pull off a string of fine saves in the first half.

United are now without a clean sheet in their last 14 home games in all competitions - they have only had one longer run in their entire history without a home clean sheet, a 21-game run between April 1958 and March 1959 - while their record of eight defeats at Old Trafford in 2021 is their worst in a calendar year since they lost eight in 1989.

The Red Devils have conceded 11 Premier League goals in six home games this season, the most after six matches at Old Trafford since 1976-77.

Part of the problem at the back has been the form of Maguire. The England centre-back missed a chunk of the season due to injury but returned against Leicester City last month, turning in a poor performance in a 4-2 defeat.

Maguire has struggled to find his best level, having a torrid time against Liverpool in a 5-0 loss on October 24, and he was at least partly culpable for City's second goal when he failed to communicate with Luke Shaw, allowing Silva to steal in at the back post and prod in Joao Cancelo's cross.

In a Twitter post on Sunday, Maguire acknowledged the performances are far from where they need to be, but insisted United will turn their fortunes around.

"As a group of players we are going through a tough period," the post read.

"We know and accept this is nowhere near good enough. We feel your frustration and disappointment, we are doing everything we can to put things right and we will put things right.

"Thanks for your support. UNITED."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remained defiant he can turn around Manchester United's awful form despite the "big step back" of their derby defeat.

The Red Devils were brushed aside 2-0 at Old Trafford by Manchester City on Saturday, Bernardo Silva scoring after Eric Bailly's own goal.

The defeat was United's sixth in their past 12 games in all competitions and their eighth at home in 2021, a number they last endured back in 1989.

They have also gone without a clean sheet in 14 consecutive home matches for the first time since the 1950s, while they have let in 11 at home in the top flight in 2021-22, their worst such return over the first six games of the season since 1976.

It was the manner of United's loss that was particularly damaging, even though the scoreline did not reach the embarrassing levels of the 5-0 loss to Liverpool last month. 

They only had one shot on target throughout and just four touches of the ball in the City box, their fewest in a league match since at least 2008-09.

Solskjaer was granted a reprieve by United bosses after the thrashing by Liverpool and responded by delivering a 3-0 win at Tottenham followed by a Champions League draw with Atalanta, a result secured through a last-gasp Cristiano Ronaldo equaliser.

The United manager accepted the City performance was a major blow after their previous two results but maintained he is committed to arresting his team's slide.

Asked about his belief he can turn things around, Solskjaer said: "Definitely. You're right – [we need to get] back to where we should be. For me, it's back to what we started to look like. We started to look like a proper team, a team that I like to see.

"We've had two, three, four weeks now, a disappointing spell. The performance against Tottenham was good, but it was not what we want to look like, to put it that way. We want to be on the front foot, we want to be more aggressive. Unfortunately, we had to try to get a few results.

"We got a couple of good results, Atalanta and Tottenham, but today was a big step back."

Ronaldo's volley in the 26th minute was the only moment City goalkeeper Ederson was made to work as the visitors assumed total control, making 821 passes to United's 389.

"It's a way of losing that we don't like," said Solskjaer, who appeared to receive less of a positive reception by fans than he did after the Liverpool result. "When you lose a game against a good team, you want to see a better Man United team than that.

"When you concede the first goal as early as we did in an unfortunate way, it makes the game a lot more difficult. We needed to be more front-foot, aggressive. We played against a very good team that made it hard to do that.

"When we had the ball, they pressed us really well and we couldn't get the angles we knew we had to get and the quality we knew we had to get. We never got to the level we need to be at to win against good teams."

Solskjaer now hopes the international break can do his players some good before they return to action at Watford on November 20.

"Players are human beings, and when you lose a game of football, there's no better remedy than winning a game, getting your confidence by winning a game. Hopefully, the ones that go away do that and do well," he said.

"For us, it's all about Watford. We have to come out against Watford like a proper hurt animal. We've got to get back to what we know we can do. It's the only way to approach this and attack this situation.

"Yes, the short answer is I think it's come at a good time for us now. As a group, we've had a difficult spell, come through it, but this was a big step back for us."

Roy Keane said he felt sorry for the Manchester United players after their derby defeat to Manchester City as the former captain believes they are simply not good enough.

United were second best in a 2-0 loss to the Premier League champions at Old Trafford, an Eric Bailly own goal and a finish from Bernardo Silva settling the contest before half-time.

It was the Red Devils' first home league match since the 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool but there was little better about this latest result other than the scoreline.

United had only one shot on target throughout, managing only 389 passes to City's 821, as Pep Guardiola's men eased through the contest in second gear.

Former United defender Gary Neville described it as a "calm annihilation" at City's hands, and Keane agreed it was a game that looked easy for the visitors.

"It was so poor. The difference in class, quality and decision-making, basically everything," he said on Sky Sports at half-time, after Bailly had turned into his own net and Silva had converted a Joao Cancelo cross that Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire left.

"I know the old saying is men vs boys, but United are so off it, it's unbelievable. Look at Shaw and De Gea. What chance have you got in this game? I've been cross with these fellas for years.

"I give up on these players. These are international defenders. I can't understand the defending. I give up."

He continued after the match: "Phil Foden mentioned it is a tough place to come. It's not. Ask Everton, ask Aston Villa and Liverpool. Teams have come to Old Trafford and are getting a bit of joy now.

"I know United's away record has been fantastic over the last couple of seasons but ultimately it's what you do at home that gives you that foundation to try and compete and go on and win trophies because United still always have the quality, even away from home. But their home form, the performance and the defending...

"We go back to characters. Scott McTominay, who I know is learning his trade. Fred in midfield. These players are not good enough for Manchester United.

"Defensively, I wasn't shocked when Eric Bailly sliced that into his own net. He's got that in his locker. He's erratic.

"It was so comfortable for Man City. They just toyed with Man United. I'd like to go in hard on the United players, but today I'm feeling sorry for them. I think some of them aren't up to playing for Manchester United, particularly at home.

"When I was at United you judge a player on how they cope with playing in front of 75,000 and you stay in the fight when you're under the cosh.

"But this team doesn't. They just don't have the desire to stay in the fight. This team doesn't have personality. They're trying things and they're a decent group going for lunch, but it's what happens when the referee blows the whistle."

United have now lost eight home games in all competitions in 2021, the most in a calendar year since 1989, while they have gone 14 matches at Old Trafford without a clean sheet for the first time since the 1950s.

They have also taken only eight points from their most recent nine home league games, losing to Liverpool and City without scoring in their previous two. The last time that happened was during the final weeks of David Moyes' tenure in March 2014, when the Red Devils suffered consecutive 3-0 losses to their fiercest rivals.

The pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is only going to increase, and Keane accepted his old team-mate must get more from his players.

"Ole seems to be under pressure since he's walked into the club and that's not going away because people didn't think he was up to it," Keane said.

"The pressure is going to build but the players, I look at Shaw and De Gea, they're international players. They couldn't sniff out danger, these boys are too casual.

"Ole has to take responsibility and I've defended him for one or two years but he's the manager and the staff need to get more out of these players."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Manchester City highlighted how far United have fallen off the pace, but insisted he had no fears over his future.

The United boss cut a disconsolate figure on touchline at Old Trafford, where Eric Bailly netted an own goal before slack defending and goalkeeping allowed Bernardo Silva to double the visitors' advantage in the first half.

United, beaten 5-0 by Liverpool in their previous home game, offered scant threat after the break as the pressure mounted on Solskjaer.

And the Norwegian admitted the stark disparity between the two sides was evident, with the forthcoming international break offering some respite for the embattled boss.

He told Sky Sports: "At the moment, yes we are [a long way behind the leading teams], but we've got to get back to what we started to look like, and we started to look like a proper team at the end of last season, start of this season. We've got to get back to that.

"I'm sure when we come back, the players will be fresh in their mind after internationals. The demands on me and the players are going to be high, the expectations. We need to get back to what we started to look like for a while, and we've got the players to do that.

"We've been this situation a few times of course, since the last game we played here it has been a very difficult period. We need to be on the front foot more, I can't look at myself and say this is the way I want Manchester United to play."

Asked if he was starting to feel as though he may be on borrowed time, Solskjaer, whose side slipped six points behind City, added: "No, I don't start to do that.

"I have good communications all the time with the club, we're very upfront and honest about the situation.

"I work for Man United and want the best for Man United and while I'm here I'll do what I can to improve this, and that's going back to what we started to look like."

United were second best throughout against Pep Guardiola's side, managing only one shot on target, while the second goal saw an uncharacteristic error from David de Gea, who was beaten at his near post.

"It's very difficult to talk now of course because we started the game off badly, passive of course," said Solskjaer. "When they get the first goal it was always going to be a difficult game anyway.

"Being 1-0 down was hard, David kept us in the game, some good stops, then they scored a goal they always score. [Joao] Cancelo cuts inside, crosses back stick, we know that's going to happen and it shouldn't happen.

"They played well, of course, they don't give you opportunities to win the ball off them, some praise has to go to them as well but we were not at our level, our standard, they need to be raised.

"We still don't trust ourselves with the ball, we still don't pass or find the angles as well as I know we can."

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