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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's support starts to splinter as tactics come up woefully short at Leicester

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Before this thrilling but ultimately one-sided game, both teams had been struggling for form.

Leicester had not won a game of note since August. Manchester United had lost three of their last six.

Brendan Rodgers did what he always does in these situations and went back to the training ground and worked hard to find a fix.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under huge pressure following Manchester United's latest defeat

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under huge pressure following Manchester United’s latest defeat

‘We had a lot of work to do in the international break to fix the team and get the vibe and mentality back again,’ said the Leicester manager.

‘I wanted to take myself back into almost being in my first match again. I had to think: “What do I say to them?”.

‘We spoke to the players and tried to be tactically better in the game. But most of it is emotional. We were way too passive in other games this season.

‘We are at our best when we are aggressive and a horrible team to play against.

‘So we’re fixing it, filling the gaps at the back, getting our speed back in the side and getting us pressing synchronised as a team again.’

Rodgers is a tracksuit coach, happiest out on the grass. His personality and his preferred way of playing were visible as United were rolled over at the King Power. Change the playing strip and it could have been his Celtic, his Liverpool or even his Swansea out there.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Co had no answer for Leicester at the King Power Stadium

Cristiano Ronaldo and Co had no answer for Leicester at the King Power Stadium

But what of United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? What of him do we see in his team? What patterns do we recognise? What habits?

Sadly, only negative ones. His United side — crammed full of talented attacking players — do not have cohesion or method or a readily identifiable DNA.

They continue to look like a team playing and making decisions on the hoof, hoping that when things start to go wrong — as they often do — somebody such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Bruno Fernandes or Mason Greenwood can drag them out of a hole.

Often it happens. At West Ham it was a late individual goal from Jesse Lingard followed by David de Gea’s penalty save. Three points. At Wolves it was Greenwood with a cracker with 10 minutes to go. Three more. Against Villarreal at home in the Champions League it was Ronaldo in stoppage time. Another victory.

It can be exciting and uplifting but it does not represent method or a direction of travel. As such it cannot be relied upon to get a team through a season. It simply cannot last.

So at Leicester on Saturday the wheels of Solskjaer’s Ferrari fell off. This time United got what they deserved: a sound beating dispensed by a better team, a side playing to a plan and looking to exploit clear weaknesses.

United were well beaten and have now failed to win any of their last three league matches

United were well beaten and have now failed to win any of their last three league matches 

Afterwards — while Rodgers examined publicly the recent issues with his team — Solskjaer spoke in cliches about winning 50-50 balls and switching off at set-pieces. He talked about how his team have been working hard in training. At one point he apologised for ‘rambling on’.

But there was no detail, nothing to convince anybody that permanent and constructive improvement may be forthcoming. Solskjaer identifies problems that anyone can see but what he rarely does is offer or provide solutions and that continues to be United’s problem.

Next up for his team in the Premier League is a meeting with Liverpool on Sunday.

Mo Salah and Co will be salivating.

After that, four of the next five domestic games pit United against Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

If they do not improve on recent efforts then the backing Solskjaer continues to receive from the Old Trafford board may start to splinter. Among sections of the club’s support, it is already in pieces.

Saturday’s problems were clear. United’s defending was poor and Solskjaer admitted that Harry Maguire probably should not have been selected on the back of limited training.

Their midfield holding duo of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic had all the steadfastness of a kitchen sieve and, at the top, Ronaldo contributed absolutely nothing.

Apart from all that, United were absolutely fine.

Is Ronaldo a problem? Not yet but he could be. His goalscoring contribution has already been valuable but when he does not find the net he looks like a passenger, his lack of running and front-line defending simply asking more of players already struggling around him.

Asked about this afterwards, Rodgers was diplomatic. He said Ronaldo these days is a ‘different kind of player’ than he used to be.

We all knew what he meant and once again it comes back to coaching. United knew what they were getting when they re-signed Ronaldo in August and it is Solskjaer’s job to now accommodate such a unique individual in his team.

Rodgers is the type of coach who would find a way. Solskjaer is more of a close-your-eyes-and-hope-for-the-best type.

United actually took the lead on Saturday. Greenwood’s long-range goal was special.

But Leicester had the game’s best players. Youri Tielemans was excellent all afternoon while James Maddison — so out of touch this season — showed signs that improvement may yet be round the corner.

The home team’s goals came from Tielemans, Caglar Soyuncu and, after Marcus Rashford had equalised against the tide with 10 minutes left, Jamie Vardy and the substitute Patson Daka.

Daka, a 23-year-old Zambia forward, was only on the pitch for 12 minutes and feasibly could have scored a hat-trick. His first two touches were shots that needed saving and that was indicative of the way things were going for United by then.

This was not Leicester at their best but it represented a huge step forward. They looked like themselves and so did United, just not in a good way.

At the end Ronaldo headed straight for the tunnel, head bowed, before being told by his manager to go and thank United’s travelling support. Ronaldo turned, walked 10 yards to wave and then was gone. It was the furthest he had travelled all afternoon.

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