Man United woes put Solskjaer under increasing pressure as fan anger grows

MANCHESTER, England -- With Burnley leading 2-0 and already well on their way to their first win at Old Trafford since 1962, Manchester United fans began to sing "stand up if you hate Glazers," in reference to the family that owns the club. Almost as one, the stadium rose to its feet.

Even with the game still goalless in the first half, there had been chants of protest aimed at the Glazers and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, but an eighth Premier League defeat of the season saw dissent increase. This is not yet full-scale revolt, but supporter anger is building.

On the pitch, fans do not know what to expect. Off it, they want investment in new players to bolster a threadbare squad that has reached a breaking point. Due to injury, there is no Marcus Rashford and no Paul Pogba at present. Against Sean Dyche's side, there were no goals and no points.

Those who stayed until the bitter end in freezing Manchester fog on Wednesday night sang "Man United will never die" and, while that is true, there is no escaping the fact that at the moment there are few signs of footballing life. Results like this are no longer a surprise, even if it was only the second win over "big six" opposition that Burnley have managed in the past 31 attempts.

Former United defender Rio Ferdinand, working as a pundit for BT Sport, labelled the performance "an embarrassment." Not for 31 years have United have never had fewer points after 24 games of a top-flight campaign than the 34 they hold.

Goals from Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez either side of half-time -- aided by defending that bordered on negligent -- meant another chance to close the gap on the Champions League places was squandered, but the game felt like a footnote when set against growing hostility in the stands.

It was noteworthy, though, that none of the crowd's criticism was aimed at manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer; indeed, chants of "Ole, Ole, Ole" and "You are my Solskjaer," which date back to his playing days under Sir Alex Ferguson, were given an airing sporadically through the night.

Maybe it is because he is a club legend, who scored that famous Champions League winner in 1999, or perhaps it is due to fans accepting he does not have the players to be doing much better, but Solskjaer is not yet the main source of frustration to those inside the stadium.

The tone on social media is different -- #OleOut was a Twitter trend and, midway through the second half, celebrity fan Stormzy posted "this guy's gotta go" in apparent reference to the beleaguered manager -- and debate will rage on as to whether he is up to the job.

In the short term, Solskjaer's job is safe, but Woodward and the Glazers have nine days to dampen the uprising by bringing in at least one new player before the close of the transfer window.

Talks with Sporting Lisbon over a deal for midfielder Bruno Fernandes are ongoing, but the clubs remain apart on the 25-year-old's valuation. On Wednesday morning, negotiations appeared to have stalled with Sporting holding out for €80 million and United looking to pay closer to €60m.

There is also interest in a striker to help cope with the loss of 19-goal Rashford, sidelined for months because of a back injury, and Birmingham midfielder Jude Bellingham is also a target, but he is a 16-year-old only 25 Championship games into his career.

United have maintained that their recruitment drive is aimed at the summer and there will be no panic buying or overpaying halfway through the season, but with each passing day until the deadline, it will become harder to stick to that plan. Fernandes becomes better with each poor display, but the problems run far deeper.

"We are working to improve and get players in and hopefully we can get something over the line," Solskjaer said afterward. "I think everyone can see these players are being stretched."

For now, his team look drained of confidence and none more so than Anthony Martial, who missed a golden chance to equalise against Liverpool on Sunday and followed it up with a similar miss Wednesday.

Burnley had gone 2-0 up on each of their previous two visits to Old Trafford and failed to hold on, but it was telling this time that Dyche said he "didn't have the same feeling" that a comeback by the home side was imminent.

Solskjaer accepted that after Burnley's first -- Wood providing the finishing touch to a long free kick into the penalty area that United failed to deal with -- the "belief drained away." His players are limping toward the winter break that he admitted cannot come soon enough.

Until then, each game feels like another chance to sink further into mediocrity. United face Watford or Tranmere in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday (9:55 a.m. ET; ESPN+), then visit Manchester City for the second leg of a Carabao Cup semifinal they trail 3-1 (Wednesday, 2:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+) and host Wolves in the league before getting 16 days off.

"More mentally than physically, I think they need a midseason break," Solskjaer said. "We just need to get over that line."

But it is unlikely that pessimism among the fanbase will slow and Solskjaer could no nothing but accept supporters had cause to be "disillusioned". For much of the second half, "We want United back" rang around the ground. On yet another disappointing night, that seemed further away than ever.