Solskjaer remains defiant despite United's latest setback

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Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo (left) vies for the ball with Watford's Kiko Femenia. (AP)
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo (left) vies for the ball with Watford's Kiko Femenia. (AP)

Man United suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat at Watford

By Reuters/AFP

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Published: Sat 20 Nov 2021, 11:47 PM

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes he can save his side’s sinking season but there was precious little optimism or goodwill left amongst the club’s followers after a humiliating 4-1 defeat at Watford on Saturday.

Solskjaer had hoped that the resumption of the Premier League after the international break might mark a change in fortune. But the heat is now firmly back on the Norwegian after a horrid capitulation at Vicarage Road.

It was a fourth defeat in five league games for United who have shipped 15 goals in that period and are in seventh place with 17 points — 12 behind leaders Chelsea who they face at Stamford Bridge next week.

They also face Villarreal in a vital Champions League fixture in midweek and there is a sense that time is running out for the club’s former striker.

Keeper David de Gea slammed United’s display as “embarrassing” and “nightmare after nightmare” and Solskjaer could offer little defence for his side.

Asked if he was the man to take United forward, Solskjaer said: “I always have belief in myself but of course at the moment it is a difficult time for us.

“I can see, and I trust that they all the players and staff give all that they have but the results are difficult. But I believe I can turn this around.”

United were lucky to only to be trailing to goals by Joshua King and Ismaila Sarr at halftime after a display that was as pale as their light blue away strip.

There was a slight improvement after the break as substitute Donny van de Beek, the Dutch midfielder cast into the shadows by Solskjaer since his move from Ajax, at least adding some bite.

But his goal proved a rare highlight and after Harry Maguire was red-carded for a clumsy foul on Tom Cleverley, Watford rubbed salt into the wounds with stoppage-time goals by Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis.

Some United fans vented their anger at the end and Bruno Fernandes looked close to tears.

Gerrard era starts in style

A stunning strike by Ollie Watkins and a late goal by Tyrone Mings gave Aston Villa a 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion at Villa Park in the Premier League on Saturday in Steven Gerrard’s first match as their new manager.

Villa scored on the counter-attack in the 84th minute after substitute Ashley Young carried the ball out of defence and found Watkins, who cut in from the left before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

Meanwhile, Chelsea swept to a 3-0 win at Leicester as N’Golo Kante’s rocket helped the Premier League leaders move four points clear at the top on Saturday.

Antonio Rudiger opened the scoring and Kante’s long-range blast put Chelsea in control before Christian Pulisic came off the bench to score in the second half.

In Sunday's last game, Liverpool thrashed Arsenal 4-0.

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