OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER has been telling some of his Manchester United players they needed a reality check.
Yesterday, he was saying the same thing to pretty much everyone who has this club at heart.
The Norwegian has now overseen the worst run of form that United have known since 1962 – with seven defeats in nine matches.
His team have also gone more than eight hours since scoring a goal from open play and have failed to keep a clean sheet in 12 matches.
All that has led to questions about whether the former Molde boss was really the right choice to be handed the job on a full-time basis.
Yet Solskjaer arrived for his weekly press conference in the Jimmy Murphy Building at Carrington armed with a few facts of his own.
And he was determined to prove the current malaise at United set in some time ago – rather than with the defeat at Arsenal on March 10.
He pointed out it is not just the last five weeks or so which have not been good enough for United – more like the last five years.
It’s where we’ve been in the last five seasons and that’s not good enough
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Solskjaer believes United’s current position – sixth place with 64 points and a massive 25 points behind the top of the Premier League – is pretty much where the club is at right now.
As if Wednesday’s defeat to neighbours City had not been sobering enough for the Old Trafford faithful.
He said: “The last 10 days have been hard for everyone.
“They’ve all seen the reality the last few weeks where we’re at.
“If you look at the team total points last five seasons, I don’t know if you can give me that average?
“No? The total points is 70 in average for the last five seasons, we’re now on 64, so that’s where we’re at, that is the reality that we are in now.
“And it’s where we’ve been in the last five seasons and that’s not good enough.
“That’s not down to the last six seven or eight games, that’s where we are at the moment.
“We have a great challenge ahead of us to get us up challenging again.” Solskjaer had clearly done his homework – in the last five seasons United’s points totals have been 81, 69, 66, 70, 64.
That makes 350 in total – and 70 per season.
As if to illustrate his point, a few hours later across town, Pep Guardiola was talking about points totals.
The City boss said teams need to get closer to 100 points in future to have a chance of winning the title due to his own club raising the bar.
Right now, that looks miles away for United – whose sole aim for now is to beat Chelsea tomorrow to keep their top four hopes alive.
Defeat would condemn them to another slog in the Europa League – and a big improvement is needed if they are to beat Maurizio Sarri’s men.
On Wednesday night, striker Marcus Rashford suggested his team had been anything but united in their horror show at Goodison and in the derby defeat.
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But Solskjaer said: “You could see in the derby there’s a team that wants to play for each other and be there for each other.
“We weren’t doing our jobs at Everton and it’s a boy who was hurt, Rashy’s really hurt by losing the derby, we all are.
“But we know for this club to be successful we have to stick together 24/7.”