Micah Richards admits he feels sorry for Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, slamming his side as ‘a team of individuals’.
Sportsmail understands the Norwegian is fighting to save his job, with sources offering him only lukewarm support on Monday night, more than 24 hours after the humiliating 5-0 defeat by Liverpool.
The former striker is currently in his third full season as United boss, but inconsistency has resulted in them sitting seventh in the Premier League, eight points behind leaders Chelsea.
It comes after a summer in which the Old Trafford club brought Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club, as well as signing Jadon Sancho for £73million from Borussia Dortmund.
But speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club, Sportsmail columnist Richards insists their involvement in a side that already includes Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood has caused a lack of balance.
‘It’s a team of individuals, not a collective,’ Richards said.
‘They all want to be the star man, instead of doing the basics of football, like running and tackling. If you’re bringing in Ronaldo, what’s your style of play?
‘Ronaldo is available so you think ”get him”, but you try to fit in Fernandes, Pogba, Sancho, Rashford and Greenwood in as well, so where’s the balance?
‘Get some people in behind Ronaldo to do his work if that’s what you want to do. Solskjaer said they would play on the front foot, but against Liverpool you will get picked off, just like they did.
‘Get back into a shape with two defensive midfielders to defend, full-backs tucked in and play on the counter attack.
‘United are not as good as Manchester City, Liverpool or Chelsea so defend deep and do what you’re good at – they need to go back to basics.’
Former Chelsea coach Antonio Conte is considered the leading candidate to replace Solskjaer in the United hotseat if he is sacked.
Chairmen Joel and Avram Glazer held crisis talks with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and managing director Richard Arnold over Solskjaer’s future on Monday.
Sportsmail also understands senior players are now questioning Solskjaer’s tactics and leadership over concerns that he lacks the experience to get himself out of trouble and is too soft on them.
And Richards believes the Norwegian – who scored 126 goals and won six Premier League titles and a Champions League crown in his playing days at the club – is facing a losing battle because he is ‘a bit out of his depth’.
‘He has such a legendary status at the club so it was always going to be difficult when things come to this,’ Richards added.
‘It has to be down to the coaching and some of the things were ridiculous, basic mistakes. They don’t know when to press or when to drop deep and it looks like Ole does not know what to do.
‘They need to back him and say he will go to the end of the season or bring someone else in.
‘I feel sorry for him, looking at a person who has this legendary status but he looks a bit out of his depth. If that can’t be resolved they need to move forward.’
Some reports have suggested Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers, Ajax manager Erik ten Hag and ex-Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane are on a four-man shortlist with Conte drawn up by the United hierarchy.
Solskjaer spent two-and-a-half hours at the training ground around Monday lunchtime after giving his squad and coaching staff the day off, but his squad are expected for training at Carrington on Tuesday.