Yes, this was the Carabao Cup. Yes, there was enough endeavor on a show to avoid this being a catastrophic night at the office for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But Manchester United is out of another competition without leaving a mark on it.
United have yet to win a piece of silverware under Solskjaer. Also, the club is running for four years without a trophy. It is the longest barren run since 1989. That doesn’t look like ending anytime soon after this defeat. Also, it is an opening night loss to Young Boys in the Champions League.
Solskjaer can point towards a healthy start in the Premier League as evidence to his doubters. Still, the real-time to define this United team in terms of their ability to challenge for the title will be when Liverpool, Manchester City, or Chelsea are at the door.
About the match of Manchester United:
“We played well for long period and gave it a good go….stats don’t mean anything but when you’ve got 27 shots you know the boys have given it a good go,” Solskjaer said after Manuel Lanzini’s early goal gave West Ham a first win at Old Trafford since 2007. It finished 1-0. On the balance of play, West Ham created enough to win 3-0.
For a man that had just allowed another opportunity of a trophy to slip away, Solskjaer didn’t seem overly concerned.
To put it bluntly, Manchester United reserves should be beating West Ham reserves. Especially when every one of the starting XI put out by Solskjaer is an international player. Also, whisper it quietly, Jadon Sancho cost the club £73m. He was marked confidently and tenaciously by 34-year-old Mark Noble.
Sancho, of course, needs time to unleash his true colors but more could have been expected of him. The same could be said of Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles, Victor Lindelof, the list goes on, all of whom were outplayed and outfought by their opposite number on the night. The 70,000 fans inside Old Trafford probably deserve better than to just see their players “having a go”.