Solskjaer eyes clear-out after 'rancid' loss

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Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) and Barcelona's head coach Ernesto Valverde observe during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final first leg match between Manchester United and FC Barcelona at Old Trafford in Manchester, Britain on April 10, 2019. Barcelona won 1-0. (Xinhua)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer threatened to show Manchester United's flops the door after Sunday's humiliating 4-0 loss at Everton, but challenged them to change his mind in Wednesday's derby with Manchester City.

United fell to a fifth straight away loss for the first time in 38 years, thanks to goals from Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott.

That led to an impassioned outburst from former United captain Gary Neville, who described the performance as "rancid" in his role as television analyst.

While Solskjaer was in wholehearted agreement with his former teammate, the United manager believes that facing title-chasing City at Old Trafford on Wednesday offers his underachieving players a chance to atone as they continue their quest for a Champions League place.

"Against City at Old Trafford on Wednesday, that's the biggest incentive we can have," Solskjaer said when asked how he could lift his squad.

"Old Trafford at home, in front of our fantastic fans. They were unbelievable again and they never ever moaned at our players, which they could have, but they've been supportive. I'm sure that will continue on Wednesday night."

Among many areas of criticism, the desire and fitness of United's players was questioned by their manager, who was equally baffled when asked whether his team was shamed by the performance.

"I don't know, you've got to ask them," he said. "I've told them they're not going to get the answer from me, but if you want to play at this club, it has to mean more.

"I want them to be the hardest working team, that's what we were under Sir Alex (Ferguson). You ran more than everyone, every single week, a shift up and down that pitch for your teammates.

"We can't change the whole squad, it has to be one step at a time. But I've said all along I'm going to be successful here and there are players who won't be part of that successful team."

Everton took the lead after 12 minutes when Dominic Calvert-Lewin flicked on a long Digne throw in the United area where Richarlison well placed to send a spectacular scissors kick flying past David de Gea.

After a humbling 3-0 Champions League exit at Barcelona last week, it was not the start Solskjaer had been looking for and it did not take long for Everton to make the situation worse.

After 28 minutes, the Toffees cleared a United corner and immediately broke on the counter attack, with winger Bernard playing a ball inside to Idrissa Gueye.

He, in turn, released Sigurdsson who, with Nemanja Matic curiously backing off and allowing him space, unleashed a magnificent 25-yard shot that bounced just in front of the diving de Gea on its way into the bottom corner.

The game was effectively killed off in the 56th minute when a Sigurdsson corner was punched clear by de Gea and the unmarked Digne sent a magnificent first-time volley flying back past the United keeper from 20 yards.

Even though Richarlison limped off with an injury, the agony was not over for United with the Brazilian's replacement Walcott completing the rout in the 64th minute.

Sigurdsson again carved out the opening with a brilliantly timed through-ball that allowed the former England international enough space to sprint into the area and beat the advancing de Gea with a low shot.

Not until the 86th minute, and a tame Anthony Martial strike directly at keeper Jordan Pickford, did United even produce a shot on target.

"Such a performance is not good enough for a Manchester United team, all the way from me to the players," said Solskjaer.

"We know we let the fans and the club down today and that performance is difficult to describe because it was so bad.

"They beat us on all the basics."

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