Another nightmare for Man Utd – De Gea

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea described his team’s 4-1 loss to Watford as “embarrassing” and “another nightmare”.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under pressure after his side fell to seventh in the Premier League, amid a streak of a league win in seven games.

Captain Harry Maguire was sent off at Vicarage Road and the Hornets also had a saved penalty.

“It was shameful the way we played today,” De Gea told BBC Sport.

“The first half was very bad, it is not acceptable for this club and the level of players we have. It is another nightmare. There have been some difficulties, but I really don’t know what to say.

“I have been in difficult moments with this club, but we are in a difficult situation, we do not know what to do with the ball, we are conceding a lot of goals. It is a horrible moment.

“It is easy to say the coach and the squad but those who are on the field are the players and they are the ones who have to score goals and fight on the field. We have to look at each other one by one and give more for the club and the fans. It’s hard to say why there was a performance like this, I don’t know what to say.

“It is difficult to be in the dressing room now, we are sad, we are angry. Personally I am hurt, it is a very difficult moment for the whole club.”

Analysis: ‘Many players think he will be replaced’

Simon Stone from BBC Sport

There is growing expectation that Manchester United will fire Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

While speculation about an emergency meeting of the club’s hierarchy has been downplayed at Old Trafford, the club remains secretive about Solskjaer’s future.

Many players and others close to the club now think that he will be replaced.

There was genuine hope among the club’s hierarchy that the situation could be reversed. However, both the performance and the result at Watford were worse than anyone could have imagined and Solskjaer apologized to fans afterward.

The continued uncertainty will not help preparations for the Champions League trip to Villarreal on Tuesday.

Solskjaer will face the media at 13:00 GMT on Monday before a match that United must not lose if they are to remain in control of their qualifying situation.

‘We have let ourselves and the fans down’

United’s winning percentage in the Premier League since Boxing Day 2020 is now below 50% with 18 wins in 37 games.

They have lost eight of those games and tied 11 and would be outside the top four during that span, with Manchester City, Chelsea, West Ham and Arsenal gaining more points in the corresponding span.

Solskjaer’s team have now conceded 21 league goals, the third highest overall, and have a -1 goal difference, following five losses in their first 12 games.

At the full-time whistle, Solskjaer, who has yet to win a trophy since joining the club in December 2018, approached traveling United fans and raised his hands in apology and offered them a small I salute as he walked away.

Midfielder Bruno Fernandes said the blame must lie with the players and the entire coaching staff, not just Solskjaer.

“The first half is the worst we’ve ever played and it’s hard for me to explain why we played the way we did and allowed them to come into our area out of nowhere,” Solskjaer said. “We were defeated.

“I am very hurt. When you play in the Premier League you have to face good players and good opponents like this.”

“The guys are in a terrible place in their heads now, we’ve disappointed ourselves and the fans. It’s hard to be here and explain that, but that’s football and we have to get criticized for it.”

Speculation about Solskjaer’s future will now mount as the Reds have already been knocked out of the League Cup by West Ham, and they have yet to guarantee their Champions League group progress with two games remaining.

“I have never said that I feel safe, I will never say that I feel safe,” added Solskjaer.

“I am the manager and I will take criticism and take responsibility, the players are working as hard as they can.

“The fans are really disappointed, I understand it, we all understand it. They have supported us through thick and thin, they have been with us in this rebuilding.”

‘Change is inevitable’

United will travel to Villarreal in the Champions League on Tuesday before taking on Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, November 28.

The games against Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Young Boys and Norwich follow before mid-December.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said Solskjaer’s future now looks “dangerous.”

“He is one of their own, part of the family of that club, but they cannot ignore now that he is part of the problem,” Keown said on the BBC’s Final Score.

“Change is inevitable. It seems dangerous to the manager.

“That last Watford goal was about passion and desire. Where were the defenders? They weren’t strong enough.”

Former Scotland defender Alan Hutton, who was on BBC Radio 5 Live, said United were “lousy” and that they were a “team full of stars and they are not performing.”

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