Darren Fletcher has said that Manchester United must keep faith in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, though he admits it could be painful in the short term.
Solskjaer is again under pressure at Old Trafford after a poor run of results that included Tuesday night's 3-1 defeat to Manchester City at home.
After Solskjaer saw his side down 3-0 at half-time of the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, he admitted that his side had reached a low point during his tenure.
"From their goal until half-time it's the worst we've played," Solskjaer said.
Defeat to Man City means United have gone three straight games without a win, while they currently sit fifth in the Premier League table, five points behind fourth-place Chelsea.
Though Solskjaer's position appears tenuous, Fletcher has argued that his former club will eventually turn things around if they give the Norwegian time.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could have been selfish and could have got players in for a quick fix,” Fletcher told talkSPORT, “but he wants to do the best for Manchester United long term – and he’s doing it the hard way. He has to be respected for that.
“It’s probably going to take a little bit of pain – it’s probably going to take a lot of pain – but I believe that if we stick with the process we will look back on this period and think, ‘yes, we took that pain, but look where we are now because of those decisions’.”
Solskjaer's side have been most effective this season when playing on the counter-attack, as the Red Devils utilise the pace of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James among others.
But Fletcher, who played alongside Solskjaer for several seasons at Old Trafford, believes that is not the ideal way United should play and cited one key injury to explain the club's change in approach.
“We are a great counter-attacking side, but Ole wants us to be good in possession as well,” the 35-year-old said.
“But we’ve lost our most creative player this season – Paul Pogba. Pogba, say what you like about him, I think he gets a hard time.
“There is no doubt we’ve missed him this season – the stats are there [to prove it]. Relative to how people think he’s performed – whether he’s lived up to the price tag or not – Paul Pogba creates on the pitch, makes things happen, and tries things with his passes. They’ve missed that, 100 per cent."
After missing several months with an ankle problem, Pogba is now out three to four weeks with another foot injury.