After such a positive start to life at Manchester United for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Norwegian now finds himself right in the middle of his first tough spell in charge following the 1-0 defeat to Barcelona at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
The Red Devils may not have been the favourites on the night but they at least would have been hoping for a draw or to score against their La Liga opponents, but it wasn’t to be.
Luke Shaw’s own goal proved to be the difference and United now surely face an uphill task to progress to the semi-final stage despite what happened against Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round.
Four defeats in their previous five fixtures in all competitions is hardly great ahead of hosting West Ham United on Saturday, and Solskjaer should have some major concerns.
Solskjaer has chopped and changed formations in recent times having enjoyed a lot of success with the 4-3-3 and the 4-4-2 diamond when he first arrived at Old Trafford, and it’s fair to say it hasn’t worked out.
The decision to go with a 3-5-2 system against Barca with Shaw playing as a left-sided centre-back was nothing short of disastrous, and it was only after he put through his own net that the formation changed.
The former Molde boss also went with a similar tactic in the defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers previously, and it is clear to see he shouldn’t use it again given how many players weren’t in their preferred position.
Solskjaer needs to deploy a system that works and suits his team if United are to get back to winning ways against the Irons.
Again, when Solskjaer first came in loads of players – such as Paul Pogba – found form, but it is a different story now with those same individuals failing to make the same impact they were before.
Pogba is one example of that and so is Ashley Young, while Romelu Lukaku was also way off colour against Barcelona having improved in more recent times.
Their 46-year-old manager now has a choice to make; drop those that aren’t performing or persist with them and hope the results turn around.
Young in particular will be lucky to start against the Hammers given his disastrous display on Wednesday, with the likes of Felipe Anderson and Michail Antonio ready to punish him.