Matty Longstaff deepened the crisis for the Norwegian with the only goal at St. James’ Park, but his boss believes the Reds will improve
Steve Bruce has backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to “turn it around” at Manchester United following Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Newcastle United.
Matty Longstaff scored the only goal of the game to inflict a third defeat on Solskjaer’s men in their last six Premier League matches, leaving them 12th in the table.
The Red Devils are winless in their last eight away league matches – their longest such run since September 1989 – and have won only three of their 11 games in all competitions this season excluding the penalty shoot-out defeat of Rochdale in the Carabao Cup.
United were without a number of key men at St James’ Park, including Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and former United defender Bruce is expecting Solskjaer to get the club back on track once they return to fitness.
“They’ve got horrific injury problems and until they get them all back, the Premier League can be unforgiving,” he said at his post-match news conference. “They’ve got a lot of injury problems but I’m sure Ole will turn it around.
“I can understand – I’ve seen the difference in my team when two or three players have got back fit.”
While more questions will be asked of Solskjaer’s suitability for the United job following his side’s latest abject performance, Sunday’s victory relieves some of the growing pressure on opposite number Bruce.
Bruce registered his first win over United as a manager at the 23rd attempt and felt the victory was a perfect response to those who this week questioned his tactical nous.
17 – Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed permanently on March 28th, Manchester United have won just 17 points in 16 @premierleague matches (W4 D5 L7), the fourth-worst tally among the 17 ever-present teams in that time. Wheel. pic.twitter.com/cbd1OYGNv6
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 6, 2019
“I don’t think you can manage 400 games in the Premier League, 550 in the Championship, play 980 times and not be a little bit organised,” he said.
“So, people say if you’re not good enough, that’s fine. But to be critical of tactics, this that and the other, is always the thing that bares with me more than anything.”
Bruce handed Longstaff his Premier League debut and the young midfielder responded with the winning strike 18 minutes from time.
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“It’s quite fantastic to see, isn’t it? A local kid, playing alongside his brother – and what a goal,” Bruce said. “To score on your debut like that against Man United – come on, it’s quite fantastic for the kid.
“It’s quite ironic – Matty has beaten them in his first game and I’ve been going 20-odd years! I’m delighted for everybody concerned and the response is the great thing.”