The Red Devils sit fourth in the Premier League table following their first defeat of the season last weekend as Aston Villa recorded a shock 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
Many pundits feel following United’s recruitment this summer – Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo all arriving – that the time is now for Solskjaer to mount a serious title challenge.
But Merson feels the Norwegian got his tactics all wrong for the Villa match and questions the reasoning behind signing Sancho, only to start him on the bench.
‘They need to get the right team – you are playing Aston Villa at home, who have not really got going this season, although if you beat them, it is still a good three points,’ former Arsenal star Merson told Sky Sports.
‘But there is no need at Old Trafford to be playing two holding midfielders against Villa. Take the game to Villa straight away, if I’m them, that is telling me they are worried about us.
‘I can understand if they were playing City, or Chelsea, but Villa are a midtable team and you are playing two holding midfield players.
‘Now Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a very good defender, but he will not get you seven or eight assists a season, so it is not like you are playing two holding midfield players as Liverpool do because you have the two best attacking full backs in the business in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, with Fabinho as a defensive midfielder.
‘The balance is all wrong and I said when Cristiano Ronaldo came he would not be the same player, and did Ole Gunnar Solskjaer really need him?
‘They did everything to sign Jadon Sancho and three games in, he is not playing – would he have played if Ronaldo was not there? So this is the problem and Marcus Rashford is still to come back from injury.’
Liverpool, reigning champions Manchester City and Chelsea currently occupy the top three spots in the table with many tipping those three to battle it out for the title.
And Merson believes if any one of their respective managers were at the United helm then people would also be talking of United as title contenders.