Manchester United: It's time for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to prove himself as an elite-level manager

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's problem is the overreaction to every Manchester United win, as well as every defeat.
This is due to United's recent history of winning so much. They are expected to perform so well that if they don't, there will always be backlash.

This season's first few weeks have been a perfect example of that, for both good and evil.

Some people talk about the possibility of United winning the title, even when they win games. Solskjaer must go if they lose.

However, the reality is that things aren't as dire. If you look at the Premier League table at the top and see the other points dropped, you will see there is no reason to panic at Old Trafford.

This isn't something Solskjaer has to face, however. Pep Guardiola was also being questioned by the media before Chelsea's match against Manchester City. He had lost three of his previous games against Chelsea.

Guardiola did not have to remind everyone about how good he was as a manager, which he did on Saturday. But the difference with Solskjaer's is that he still needs to prove his skills as a tactician at an elite level.

United must show signs of progress

Villarreal defeated United on penalties 11-10 in the Europa League final last season to extend United's wait until they win their first trophy.

Solskjaer's Champions League record, in which he has lost seven of the 11 matches he managed, only fuels his doubters. United's defeat to Young Boys in their first group game added to the pressure that he feels every time his team plays in Europe.

Wednesday's home match against Villarreal has an extra edge. United fans will be looking for evidence of progress and improvement since their defeat to Spain in the Europa League final last May.

This game took place four months ago. Solskjaer can be expected to have solutions to the problems that were found in City's match with Chelsea. We expected more from United after their performance.

It will be fascinating to see what he has to say, but it won't be easy to claim that he didn't have any options to alter the game from the bench.

Solskjaer was unable to use his substitutes in Gdansk until the final, which was into extra time. However, he has since added players of the calibre Raphael Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho, which is quite frightening.

There are no excuses for the strength and depth Solskjaer has now. He must take them to the next level, and the only way is to award a trophy.

Although he has done an outstanding job to restore the club's feel-good factor, it was only three years ago. It is rare for a manager to manage a club this large without ever winning anything.

His job is not in danger right now, and I don't think it should be. His United team deserves a fair chance, they've been quite demoralizing at times.

He will be judged on his success or failure at the end of the season. If he wants to win, he must find the right system to support the players he has.

What changes does Solskjaer have to make?

It feels as though Solskjaer is trying desperately to get all his attacking players in his team, even if that isn't the best position for them.

While I understand his desire to play them, it sometimes feels like there isn't enough balance between the sides. For example, when Sancho is on Sancho's bench and Paul Pogba on the wing. He is dependent on Pogba's creativity but also wants Mason Greenwood to be included because he has been so good in the first season. He isn't going to drop Ronaldo, is he?

Solskajer doesn't seem to know his preferred style of play. He has won nothing by playing counter-attacking football. It hasn't always worked out when United has had to take down teams.

In Saturday's defeat against Villa, he played Scott McTominay as well as Fred. I'm not sure if there are two defensive midfielders that you can use in such a match. Is it really worth the talent you have?

Solskjaer is the one who has to solve these problems. However, he has had to struggle in the past and has much to prove.

He has always been able to overcome adversity, even though he was with United in the past.

He must also make a change if he wants to stay in his job for the long-term and to be considered an elite manager.

Micah Richards spoke to Chris Bevan, BBC Sport.