Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says some Man United players need "reality check" after Barcelona loss

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Anthony Martial is one of the Man United players whose form has dipped.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes some members of his Manchester United squad need a “reality check” ahead of a potentially pivotal next few weeks for the club.

A 3-0 humbling at the hands of Barcelona in midweek saw United knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage, which meant they have now lost five of their past seven matches.

United face a battle to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition next season but while Solskjaer is satisfied with the attitude of the majority of his squad, he delivered a remarkable broadside at others.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Premier League visit to Everton on Sunday, the United manager said: “I’ve learned a lot about them over the months I’ve been here now.

“You get to know them, most of them have really impressed me in their attitude and there are some that need to get a reality check on where they’re at.

“When you’re out there, there is no hiding place, you can’t hide and everyone can see where your levels are at.

“We’re also working on training here with a fantastic staff I’ve got to create this culture that we want.

“You’ve got players to take ownership of what’s happening here as well. But of course it’s the performances on the pitch which will determine where they’re at in their careers. But most of them know they can improve if they keep working as they do.”

One of those who attracted Solskjaer’s discontent is Anthony Martial, who signed a new five-year contract in January but has delivered a string of underwhelming performances in recent weeks.

The Norwegian added: “I’ve spoken to individuals and they know, and Anthony’s one of them, I’ve spoken to all of them individually what we expect from them.

“Anthony’s got a massive talent, he’s signed a new contract, he knows that we believe in him so just keep on working.

“I think anyone that plays for Manchester United has to deliver to stay in the squad and stay in the team. Anthony’s no different to (Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez) or the many forwards that we have to choose from.”

Solskjaer faces a summer of upheaval as he looks for United to challenge on both domestic and European fronts once again.

However, the former United striker warned a spate of signings will not act as a panacea.

Solskjaer said: “We know we have to be realistic here and we know we have a job to be done. There’s no quick fix, it’s not like we buy seven players and suddenly we’re in the right shape, we are where we are.

“We have to take it step-by-step and of course there will be signings made in the summer.”

Solskjaer and his troops have no time to dwell on the Barcelona defeat with three crucial clashes in the space of eight days coming up, starting with their trip to Goodison Park.

The Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Wednesday is then followed by Chelsea’s visit on Sunday week in a run of fixtures that could go a long way towards defining United’s campaign.

Solskjaer, who revealed midfielder Ander Herrera is back in training, said: “You have to get on with it quickly, just accept we’re out of the Champions League. There is no shame in going out to Barcelona.

“We spoke about it after the game and said we want to be here again. To be back at these stadiums, we need to get among the top four.

“It’s a fantastic week to look forward to. The players are in a good state mentally and they’re strong mentally.”

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows there will be "no quick fix" at Man United

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted there will be “no quick fix” at Manchester United as he looks for them to challenge on both the domestic and European fronts.

United succumbed to a humbling 3-0 defeat at Barcelona in midweek, ending their Champions League campaign at the quarter-final stage, while they have a battle on their hands to finish in the Premier League top four.

Solskjaer, whose immediate focus is on a difficult week in which they will play Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea in the space of eight days, knows he cannot solve everything by making a spate of signings this summer.

Speaking ahead of their trip to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon, the United boss said: “We know we have to be realistic here and we know we have a job to be done.

“There’s no quick fix, it’s not like we buy seven players and suddenly we’re in the right shape, we are where we are.

“We have to take it step-by-step and of course there will be signings made in the summer.”

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David de Gea's future up in the air but star goalkeeper backed to stay at Man United for now

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David de Gea.

With Manchester United set for a second straight season without silverware, all signs point to a big summer overhaul from newly-installed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian has spoken of the investment it will take to rebuild the squad so that it bridges the gap to clubs like Barcelona, who dumped United out of the Champions League this week.

While part of the rebuild will involve bringing in new players, Solskjaer and the rest of the club hierarchy will need to make cold, ruthless decisions about the ones already at the club.

Here, we look at how likely the current goalkeepers at United are to remain at Old Trafford beyond this summer. Check out our analysis of the club’s defenders, midfielders, and strikers as well.

David De Gea

David De Gea may have lost his crown as the world’s best goalkeeper after a poor season by his standards, but he still pulls off outstanding saves that continue to prove his value to United.

Whether that value translates into the club meeting his wage demands remains to be seen. He reportedly wants to be the club’s highest player, a reasonable ask given his contributions, but this is made more difficult by Alexis Sanchez’s current contract, which has blown up whatever wage structure the club had in place.

A move to Real Madrid may no longer be the dream, with Zinedine Zidane back in charge of Los Blancos – he reportedly was never as keen on signing the Spaniard as the club hierarchy were – and Thibaut Courtois having joined last summer.

Still, De Gea is entering the last season of his current contract and several leading European clubs could be looking for an upgrade at goalkeeper, with Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus the obvious contenders. Signing him to a new deal is one of United’s biggest priorities this summer, but if talks continue to stall, they may decide that cashing in is the better option.

Likelihood of staying: 8/10

Sergio Romero

Romero has earned the status as one of the world’s best back-up goalkeepers during his time at United, if not the best. It’s meant as genuine praise, but is there a more backhanded compliment for a footballer than to call him the best player not good enough to start for his club?

At the moment, Romero has a comfortable role and impresses whenever he’s called upon, but he knows that there’s likely no route to him being United’s No1, even if De Gea leaves. He’ll just have to play second fiddle to a new recruit. That might be good enough for now, but the 32-year-old must be contemplating his future.

Likelihood of staying: 9/10

Lee Grant

One of the strangest signings of last summer, as United added Stoke City’s second-choice keeper to their squad as cover with the highly-rated Joel Pereira sent out on loan. He’s made only one appearance, coming on in the disastrous League Cup loss to Derby County after Romero was sent off as United were defeated on penalties.

Pereira will likely be back in the summer, though he could get another loan move as United hedge their bets on two talented young goalkeepers – the Portugal prospect and Dean Henderson, currently on loan at Sheffield United – so Grant may stay on, especially to help the Red Devils out with the English Premier League quota.

Likelihood of staying: 6/10

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