EVERTON 4, MAN UNITED 0
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer apologised to Manchester United’s fans as the scale of the rebuilding job he is confronted with was reinforced by the embarrassing and humiliating loss at Everton.
The adjectives to describe the Reds’ woeful display were plentiful as Solskjaer’s honeymoon is well and truly over following a sixth defeat in eight games.
It must seem a million miles away from the heady days when he won his first eight matches and it was a land of milk and honey at Old Trafford.
Since Solskjaer went from interim to permanent manager it has been downhill as a top-four finish now looks unlikely having forced their way into the Champions League places before the recent slide.
The slump in form has been worrying and reading media reports certain players seem more pre-occupied with negotiating lucrative new contracts than performing as they have certainly short changed supporters in recent weeks.
The performance at Goodison Park was as bad as any I have witnessed in almost 35 years covering the Reds as it lacked passion, pride, fight and desire as the players have certainly lost their focus which is some cases appears to be more on financial matters.
It was United’s heaviest defeat since Chelsea beat them 4-0 in October 2016 and the biggest loss against Everton since a 5-0 reverse in October 1984 when Everton were one of the game’s elite teams.
Fast forward and only last week Everton, whose season has been blighted by inconsistency, lost 2-0 at relegated Fulham.
It was also the first time since March 1981 that United had lost five successive away games in all competitions.Embed from Getty Images
Solskjaer said: “I would like to apologise to the fans who were again fantastic.
“We were getting thumped 4-0 and they never moaned as they could have done.
“They have been supportive and it is up to me, the players and staff to put things right.
“We cannot dwell too much short term as we have to play City on Wednesday, but we will look at it long term going forward.”
Solskjaer admitted his side was second best all over the pitch.
He explained: “That performance was so bad it was difficult to describe as they beat us in all areas – running, desire, fitness
“They beat us fair and squad and deserve all the credit they will get.”
Solskjaer pointed to the fact it took 85 minutes to register a first on-target goal attempt saying that was not good enough.
United made three changes from the side knocked out of the Champions League in Barcelona.
There were recalls Romelu Lukaku against his former club, Nemanja Matic and Diogo Dalot as Ashley Young, Scott McTominay and Jesse Lingard lost out.
Everton had two new faces from the side that lost at relegated Fulham in their last Premier League outing.
Michael Keane and Morgan Schneiderlin replaced Phil Jagielka and the suspended Andre Gomes.
United’s defence endured a torrid opening and they were indebted to David De Gea who pulled off a breathtaking save to deny Richarlison.
The Reds didn’t heed the warning as the Brazilian broke the deadlock in the 13th minute.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin flicked on a Lucas Digne long throw and Richarlison found the net with an acrobatic overhead kick.
Again there were questions about the defending as Richarlison was only six yards from goal when he struck.
And the afternoon deteriorated further as Everton doubled their lead in the 28th minute.
Sigurdsson picked up the ball in midfield and breezed past Matic before walloping a fierce drive from almost 30 yards low past De Gea, a stunning strike.
They have now conceded 46 goals, a the club Premier League record for the most conceded in a season, beating the 45 set in 1999-2000 and 2001-02.
Desperate measures were needed and Solskjaer made a double change at the break as Phil Jones and Fred didn’t reappear as Young and McTominay were summoned.
Everton had to make an enforced change soon after the restart when Richarlison limped off to be replaced by Theo Walcott.
The changes didn’t improve United’s fortunes as they conceded a third goal in the 56th minute.
De Gea punched a Sigurdsson corner clear but only as far as Digne who, from 20 yards, saw a left-foot foot volley arrow into the bottom corner.
And it might have got even worse when Sigurdsson’s inswinging corner was desperately scrambled out by De Gea from on the goal-line.
It was only a temporary reprieve as United conceded a fourth goal in the 64th minute.
Sigurdsson provided the assist releasing Walcott who raced clear on the left and slotted the ball low past De Gea.
United, without a shot on target, created their best chance of the game with 20 minutes left when Anthony Martial burst through on goal but shot wide. Matic then fired narrowly off target as United looked for a consolation.
Solskjaer made his third change with 13 minutes left as Andreas Pereira replaced Marcus Rashford.
It was pretty damning that it took United until the 85th minute before forcing Jordan Pickford into his first save of the match from Matic’s well struck 25-yard drive.