As bad as things have been for Manchester United in recent weeks, few could have predicted just how dire their clash against Liverpool would be. A 5-0 defeat at home against your biggest rivals is a dark day for any club.
How Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can come back from this remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that this was a huge step backwards for the club.
All of the problems that have plagued United in recent times were on show again. There was no organisation, no patterns of play, and no real desire from their players.
The manager has to accept responsibility for that.
United had been trending slowly in the right direction over the last couple of seasons, but all that has changed since the summer despite their heavy spending. Is it a coincidence that Cristiano Ronaldo's return has coincided with this dip?
The 36-year old doesn't press, often walking around as the opposition play out from the back. That makes it very difficult to press as a unit and he offers very little if he is not scoring goals.
Despite this, Gary Neville says he must be accommodated in the side. Speaking on Sky Sports, he even slammed the other players in the side for not covering up Ronaldo's lack of work-rate.
🗣 "These aren't a foil for Cristiano, they think they are Cristiano some of them, they don't work hard enough."@GNev2 and @Carra23 debate what has changed at Manchester United over the last couple of seasons pic.twitter.com/G0PTXWxgSC
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 24, 2021
These players here now, I'm asking serious questions about them. They're easy to play against, they're getting outrun by teams they play against. That's not good enough.
Forget whether they lose or concede chances, get the basics of the football team right. That means working Monday morning, sprinting to the ball with intensity.
The intensity of Manchester City last night. Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden, who are better players than these by the way, were sprinting like you wouldn't believe to get the ball back.
There is no excuse for those Manchester United players on the pitch today...
Ronaldo coming in has been massive. I said it's like Elvis Presley coming into Manchester, the impact has been unbelievable.
It's not just down to him, but what I would expect is that the group of players around him have to make sure they are a foil for him.
I mentioned before that Rooney, Tevez, Ji Sung Park, and Fletcher were players that played around him, they were a foil for Cristiano.
These players aren't a foil for Cristiano. They think they are Cristiano, some of them. They don't work hard enough.
If anything, this opinion sums up everything wrong with Manchester United in their current form. A team of individuals with a lack of collective autonomy.
They won't get very far with a side composed like that.