Former Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland striker Darren Bent has warned Manchester United that they risk missing out on a place in both next's season UEFA Champions League and Europa League if they stand by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The United manager is under enormous amounts of pressure at Old Trafford following Sunday's 5-0 battering at the hands of Liverpool, who got the job done thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah (3), Naby Keita and Diogo Jota.
Although Solskjaer has been under pressure for a while, it has greatly increased because of the scale of the defeat to Jurgen Klopp's side, with United, as reported by the Manchester Evening News earlier this week, having considered the idea of sacking the Norwegian ahead of Saturday's clash with Bent's former club, Spurs.
However, United are now set to give Solskjaer at least Saturday's game to try and get things back on track, although he does, of course, remain under scrutiny.
For Bent, though, if United continued to play in the same vein as they are currently, it could have costly consequences, with the now-37-year-old tipping them to finish seventh in the table this term, meaning United would be forced to settle for a place in the Europa Conference League next season.
Asked where United will finish in the Premier League this season if Solskjaer remains in charge, Bent told talkSPORT: "Seventh. If they keep Solskjaer the whole season, honestly, seventh.
"If they’re going to play the way they did against Liverpool and Atalanta, any of the top eight teams could beat them on any given day."
The prospect of United missing out on Champions League football, never mind the Europa League, is a worrying prospect. The likes of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo were all brought to Old Trafford during the summer with an eye on helping United head back towards the very top of European football, not to be competing in a competition two ranks its junior.
Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards, however, has aired a different view to that of Bent, urging United to stand by the former striker.
"He [Solskjaer] has such a legendary status at the club so it was always going to be difficult when things come to this," Richards said on Sunday evening's Match of the Day 2.
"It has to be down to the coaching and some of the things were ridiculous, basic mistakes. They need to back him and say he will go to the end of the season or bring someone else in."
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