Manchester United failed to win at Old Trafford for the third game out of four in all competitions on Saturday lunchtime as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton.
Following last weekend’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at the Theatre of Dreams, there can be no doubt that United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaerwould have been targeting three points from the visit of the Toffees.
The Norwegian made the brave decision to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench as part of a number of changes to the side that narrowly edged past Villarreal in the Champions League on Wednesday.
When Ronaldo’s replacement, Anthony Martial, broke the deadlock to hand the Red Devils a half-time lead, the call looked an inspired one.
However, mid-way through the second period, Andros Townsend dealt Solskjaer and his team a huge setback when he cooly finished off a swift Everton counter to level the scores.
Often since his return to the club in the summer, United have been able to rely on Ronaldo to produce some magic in front of goal in order to get them out of trouble. Here, though, there was to be no rescue act from the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Although they eventually escaped with a point, things could have been worse for United had Yerry Mina’s late tap-in not been ruled out by VAR.
A frustrating afternoon, then, for all associated with the 13-time Premier League champions. You wouldn’t have known that by watching footage of Solskjaer on the touchline in added time at the end of the match, though.
With the four minutes of indicated stoppage time having already been played, United hopes of snatching an unlikely victory rested at the discretion of the referee. The atmosphere around Old Trafford was understandably tense. Solskjaer, however, didn’t seem to be feeling a bit of it – as cameras caught him laughing while in conversation with a member of his team. You can check out the clip for yourself below.
— Tom McDermott (@MrTomMcDermott) October 2, 2021
As you might expect, Ole being all-smiles so close to the final whistle did not go down well with United fans on social media.
“Seriously, what is he smiling at? A pathetic display,” blasted one supporter.
“Laughing all the way to the bank…Absolutely stealing a living,” declared another.
“Worst manager of my lifetime. Wouldn’t get a job at Kidderminster,” chimed in a third fan.
A further reaction read: “He doesn’t help himself, does he? What is this guy?”
“Could you ever imagine Fergie doing this,” asked a final comment, drawing a comparison between Solskjaer and the legendarily ill-tempered Sir Alex Ferguson.
The draw could well see United end the weekend outside of the top four in the Premier League. Given the significant investment that has been made at the club over the summer, nothing less than a serious championship challenge will do for United.
With matches against the likes of Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool on the horizon after the upcoming international break, Solskjaer could quickly find his position under threat if he can’t turn around his side’s domestic form.
Judging by the reaction to him after Saturday’s draw, there are plenty of United fans that would like to see the back of him sooner.