Manchester United legend Paul Parker has defended United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Saturday’s shock defeat to Crystal Palace.
United were defeated heavily by Roy Hodgson’s team and while Parker does criticise Solskjaer’s team selection, he feels that the manager has had his hands tied by the board’s failure to back him in the transfer window.
Only Donny van de Beek has arrived this summer and many feel that the squad is a few senior players short of even being able to maintain their third place in the league from last season, let alone push to improve.
And Parker, speaking exclusively on this week’s Talking Devils podcast, confirmed he is one of those. “Ole was probably the happiest man ever at the end of last season with three semi-finals and Champions League football back at United,” he said. “But I wonder if he could already foresee what was going to be the next stage, knowing he wasn’t going to get much joy in the market.”
“Everyone must see it for what it is. You can’t look at Ole and blame him. Some people do – I wonder if they know their history. But the manager doesn’t seem to make any difference at all. The problem lies with what’s happening at the top and that’s causing issues down below. I didn’t want all of Ole’s good work to go to waste but you have to worry even after one game of the new season that it has.
“We saw already at the weekend that Crystal Palace got a lift the moment they saw the United team. They knew they could go to Old Trafford and get a good result again.”
Many top players have already moved clubs but Parker feels that United could attempt to exploit some rising stars who have release clauses in their contracts. For example, it is known that Erling Haaland has a release clause of £63m despite joining Dortmund only in January; and, whilst that clause does not allegedly activate until next year at the earliest, Parker says United should pre-empt this by offering more to the German club in an order to tempt them.
“I would worry about paying £100m for Sancho but not for Haaland,” Parker says. “I’d do that. He does something that United are looking for. He scores goals, and he’s got more to his game than just that, too.”
Parker says that he hopes the club matches Solskjaer’s obvious ambition. “Ole wants to finish in the top four because he knows if he doesn’t he will get the sack,” he says. “It’s the same every time. They just change the head of the manager and no matter who it is and what they did, all of Solskjaer’s predecessors have sympathy from someone because of the difficulties they were working under.”
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