“If you lose a game at Manchester United it’s a crisis,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, smiling on Sky Sports last week.
The United boss’ remarks were made ahead of United’s 2-1 win against West Ham in the Premier League when the Reds were aiming to produce a response to their midweek defeat in the Champions League against BSC Young Boys in Switzerland.
The three points in that game were saved by David de Gea’s late penalty heroics and sent supporters flocking to Twitter – a platform synonymous with hyperbole – to praise the Spaniard, with fans understandably revelling in the dramatic nature of the result.
However, just seven days on from that game and all the optimism and positive feeling around United has seemingly evaporated after Solskjaer’s side lost to West Ham in the Carabao Cup before they most recently lost 1-0 to Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Saturday.
There was a tangible feeling of anger and disappointment after that defeat and among those emotions perspective is crucially lost.
There’s no denying that United’s consecutive defeats at home are underwhelming, but Solskjaer was right to reply nonchalantly when asked for his assessment of the season to date, it’s his job not to be sucked into the ‘crisis’ that appears after every setback.
Yes, United have made it harder for themselves to win silverware this term after crashing out of the Carabao Cup, and yes, losing to Aston Villa at home isn’t good enough for a team that harbours Premier League-winning ambitions, but United are in a better position than some would lead you to believe after Saturday’s defeat.
United have won 13 points from six games, which means they’re level on points with Chelsea and Manchester City while league leaders Liverpool have won 14 points from six games. Are there talks of a crisis at those clubs? No, it’s quite the opposite.
Liverpool are also set to play City next and, depending on the result, that could give United a perfect opportunity to bounce back from this weekend’s loss because if those rivals draw and United win against Everton, the Reds will move above both.
If United win that game and better Chelsea’s result against Southampton by three goals, they could move to the top of the league.
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The latter outcome, naturally, seems more of a stretch, but it’s clear when taking a closer look at the Premier League table that United have made a satisfactory start and, it’s worth noting, United had just seven points after playing six league games last season.
United could have beaten Villarreal and be ahead of their Premier League rivals by the end of next week, there’s no need to panic yet.