Man Utd set unwanted club record as defensive struggles continue

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The Red Devils have conceded 17 goals in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's 17 games in charge since succeeding Jose Mourinho

Manchester United have conceded more goals this season than in any previous Premier League campaign as their travails under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continue to worsen.

Goals from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson in the first half at Goodison Park gave Everton a 2-0 lead at the break, leaving United with a mountain to climb if they are reel in the sides above them in the race for the Champions League.

The wheels have fallen off spectacularly from United’s recovery in recent weeks, with the team having now conceded 17 goals in Solskjaer’s 17 games in charge and 46 in total in the league.

They crashed out of the FA Cup to Wolves in March, before a footballing lesson from Barcelona saw them dumped out of Europe on the end of a 4-0 aggregate defeat.

That run has seen them go 11 matches without a clean sheet for the first time since November and December 1998, with Solskjaer himself playing a part in eight of those matches.

It still represents an improvement on performances under predecessor Jose Mourinho. United let in 29 goals in 17 games before the Portuguese was sacked on December 17 with the club languishing in midtable in the Premier League.

The Red Devils conceded 45 league goals during the 1999-00 and 2001-02 seasons during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, though those records came in a different time for the club.

United finished 18 points clear of second-place Arsenal in May 2000, despite having registered their worse defensive record in a 38-game Premier League season.

They were aided by a sensational attacking effort that year – Teddy Sheringham’s winning goal against Aston Villa on the final day of the season was the team’s 97th league goal of their title-winning year.

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That was the first season after legendary goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel left the club to join Sporting, with a combination of Mark Bosnich, Raymond van der Gouw and Massimo Taibi keeping goal.

In 2001-02, they also suffered a porous campaign, during what had been due to be Ferguson’s final season in charge.

The team eventually finished third behind Liverpool and champions Arsenal, their first season finishing outside of the Premier League’s top two.

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