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Two steps foward, one step back for Man Utd: Solskjaer's side can't break down ordinary teams!

19:18 GMT+3 15/12/2019
Marcus Rashford Man Utd
The Red Devils beat Tottenham and Manchester City last week but struggle against sides outside of the Premier League's 'Big Six'

Two steps forward, one step back.

Just when it seemed Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had turned a corner, they deliver a reminder of just how much more work needs to be done.

Those wins against Tottenham and Manchester City in the Premier League were achieved very much against the odds but dictated the terms on which United could compete against the top teams. Unfortunately for Solskjaer, they can’t play the top six every week.

Good results against more prosaic opposition – such as Newcastle, Bournemouth, Sheffield United and Aston Villa – have been harder to come by than against the top teams. And here again against a depleted Everton, United conjured few answers in a game that was there for the taking.

That they got anything out of the game owes plenty to Mason Greenwood. On a day when the club were celebrating 4,000 consecutive matches with homegrown players in their line-up, it was one of the latest off the production line who gave them a share of the spoils.

United have certainly unearthed another gem in Greenwood, who has scored more goals than any other teenager in Europe’s top five leagues this season after Jadon Sancho and Gabriel Martinelli.

He was spotted rifling through United’s strategy book just before coming on for Jesse Lingard but his fine goal looked more an off-the-cuff effort which found the bottom corner of Jordan Pickford’s goal.

Beyond that, though, United were weak.

Having embarked on a fine goalscoring run, Marcus Rashford had an off day. One second-half effort was so high and wide that the ball almost ended up in a Stretford End gangway. Daniel James nearly took Lingard’s head off with another shot as United struggled to get things going in front of goal.

Things were not a delight at the other end either; Victor Lindelof was caught under an in-swinging Leighton Baines cross and was helpless to diver the rebound into his own goal. United wanted a foul given for a Dominic Calvert-Lewin foul on David de Gea in the build-up but a VAR check confirmed no wrongdoing.

Everton battled for their point and will be proud to add it to the three they took off Chelsea last week. But this was again a demonstration of United’s inability to break down ordinary teams.

Everton could only name one midfielder in their line-up, Tom Davies, who ended up booked before the game had settled passed the five-minute mark.

Injured Andre Gomes was watching on from the stands, while Gylfi Sigurdsson took ill last night. Morgan Schneiderlin and Fabian Delph were also ruled out, along with longer-term absentee Jean-Philippe Gbamin.

But still United could not gain control. Fred has been at his best in recent weeks but struggled for influence. Scott McTominay is a better destroyer than he is a build-up player. When the onus is on United to come and play through teams, they cannot do it.

That is the next and most profound problem Solskjaer has got to solve.