Manchester United v Everton: Match in pictures
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Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand has declared that Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s tactical approach is ‘head and shoulders’ above that of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and every other Premier League manager. The Red Devils are hoping to pip their cross-city rivals to this year’s Premier League title but are enduring a muted spell of form at present.
United have failed to win either of their last two domestic outings against Aston Villa and Everton respectively.
The 20-time champions were beaten at home by Villa last month before they were forced to share the points with the Toffees at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Anthony Martial’s opening goal was cancelled out by a second-half equaliser from Andros Townsend, who rescued a draw for Everton by finishing off a rapid counter-attacking move.
The result saw United slip to fourth in the Premier League table, two points adrift of early leaders Chelsea.
Solskjaer has long been criticised for a lack of elite managerial know-how when compared to the likes of Guardiola and the division’s other top bosses.
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The United head coach was slammed by fans and pundits alike for naming Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench against Everton, a decision that failed to alleviate the growing pressure on his shoulders.
Solskjaer’s side are currently level on points with third-placed City but Ferdinand has suggested that a successful title bid may not be possible with the Norwegian at the helm this season.
The former United defender told Vibe with Five that City and Guardiola are simply too strong and will likely emerge as this season’s Premier League champions thanks to their dominance over the rest of the division.
“In the first four of five games of the season, I was sitting there and thinking Chelsea are the team to beat,” said Ferdinand.
“Now move on three of four games past that stage and I’m thinking Manchester City are the team to beat. They have looked seriously impressive against the big teams.
“They dominated Chelsea away, they dominated Liverpool in the first half [on Sunday] and should have seen the game off. They might be a bit disappointed with a 2-2 draw but they look the most impressive to me.
“They look formidable at times. There’s no doubt they’re going to dominate 99 per cent of their games but it’s just about the finishing.
“Once they get over that element of missing chances and not finishing off their great build up play, if they get that right, I think they are the team to beat.
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“They’ve got the experience and the class and the players. Tactically, they seem to be head and shoulders above everyone else.”
It remains to be seen whether Solskjaer will be able to rescue United’s form and push City all the way in the Premier League title race over the coming weeks and months.
The Red Devils are reportedly prepared to back their current boss on a long-term basis, a stance made clear by their recent decision to tie down assistant manager Mike Phelan until the summer of 2024.
United will be hoping to return to winning ways in their next Premier League outing against Leicester City after the international break.
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