Graeme Souness and Micah Richards were involved in a heated on-air discussion following Manchester City’s convincing derby win over Manchester United on Saturday afternoon. Eric Bailly’s own goal set the tone for the match by handing the visitors an early lead before Bernardo Silva doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer changed things up in the second half with the introductions of Jadon Sancho and Donny van de Beek from the bench, but United were unable to hit back and fell to their fourth Premier League defeat of the season as a result.
Souness and Richards were both compelled to dissect the performance of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was seemingly at fault for City’s second goal, in their post-match analysis of the game for Sky Sports.
The former was adamant that the United right-back was fully responsible for allowing the decisive cross into the box, with Silva going on to tap home from an acute angle.
“He should be sprinting out and stopping the cross,” said Souness, who captained the successful Liverpool team of the early 1980s.
However, Richards insisted that Wan-Bissaka was not helped in any way by Bruno Fernandes, who failed to press the ball himself before it was clipped into the area by Joao Cancelo.
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“He’s scared, he knows he hasn’t got help from Fernandes,” argued the former City and England defender.
Souness went on to play down his colleague’s assertion that Wan-Bissaka was not entirely at fault, replying: “Try to forget everything you’ve just said.”
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Saturday’s result will serve as the final nail in the coffin for Solskjaer’s tenure at United, with the Norwegian boss having been under extreme pressure to deliver quick-fire results in recent weeks.
It seems likely that a decision on his immediate future will be made before or during this month’s international break, with the Red Devils now three points adrift of the Premier League’s top four after just 11 outings.
Former United defender Gary Neville suggested after the match that Solskjaer now finds himself under a greater level of expectation than ever before, claiming that the latter could well be given his marching orders by the club’s hierarchy over the coming weeks.
“Ole is under massive pressure and they have no courage,” explained Neville.
“Without [Edinson] Cavani they look less of a team. He seems to have that fight to play for the club and when he doesn’t play they seem nice, and nice isn’t good enough.
“Up until the end of last season there was progression and finishing above Liverpool last season they’d snatch your hand off. The club has not planned for this.
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“Some United fans think that the club should’ve acted two weeks ago because [Antonio] Conte was available. They were never going to appoint Conte, it was never going to happen, they were never going to consider it.
“They are not prepared for this moment because they got behind Ole and the staff. I dont think there’s any chance they’ll make a decision during this season unless it gets so bad, but it’s getting to that stage where it’s so bad.
“You’re 11 points off the top of the league if Chelsea win and you can’t be 11 points off the top 11 games in. He has a few weeks to get a winning run going.
“After the break [United will play] Watford, Villarreal and Chelsea, all away. It could get ugly.”