Man Utd: Solskjaer assesses Champions League exit
Manchester United’s hierarchy are wary of sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because they are reluctant to fall into a cycle of regularly hiring and firing managers, according to reports. Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, all of David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have been sacked.
United are confident Solskjaer is still fit for the job and do not want the Norwegian to suffer the same fate.
While the Red Devils crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages after a 3-2 loss to RB Leipzig this week, they are only five points off of joint-Premier League leaders Tottenham and Liverpool and have a game in hand.
United have reeled off four straight top-flight wins since losing to Arsenal, while they also suffered a 6-1 defeat to Tottenham and a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace.
And despite their European misery, the Guardian say that United are firmly behind the 47-year-old coach, who boasts 60 wins from his 108 matches in charge so far.
Solskjaer has been in charge of United since December 2018, after Mourinho was dismissed, and was handed the position full time the following March.
No boss since Ferguson’s retirement has managed three full seasons in charge, with Mourinho removed from his position mid-way through the 2018-19 campaign.
And United want to give Solskjaer more time to turn things around because they believe he can help them to challenge for Premier League titles again.
United have not won the league since legendary Scottish manager Ferguson called time on his 26-year tenure and have fallen well behind rivals Manchester City and Liverpool in recent years.
But they finished third last term under Solskjaer and think that persisting with him is the right idea rather than bringing in someone new and once again chopping and changing their squad.
Speaking last month, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward insisted: “On the pitch, while there is still hard work ahead to achieve greater consistency, we remain absolutely committed to the positive path we are on under Ole as the team continues to develop.”
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson thinks that this Saturday evening’s Manchester derby could change the outlook of the United hierarchy towards Solskjaer.
United host Manchester City at Old Trafford (5.30pm kick-off) and Merson said: “For me, this is a massive football match. I would say that if he doesn’t get through this, that could be it.
“I think it’s make or break for Ole. That is, unless Man Utd have a different plan, and think differently about this club than everyone else.
“Do Man Utd want anyone else? Are they comfortable with this situation? They run the show, there’s no pressure, do they like that?
“Do the people who run Man Utd think they are the biggest club in football? Do they think like me, or do they think ‘we’re not that team anymore’?
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“Would Zinedine Zidane be in a job today if Real Madrid hadn’t made the last 16 of the Champions League? Definitely not.
“They would have gone off the idea that they are the biggest club in the world, and would have made that decision.
“I’d love to know whether those people running Manchester United are happy where they are. I don’t get that feeling from the board that they believe they’re the biggest team in the world.”
Merson added: “If Man Utd go 1-0 down, you can say goodnight. They can’t keep going behind in football matches. It will only last so long. If Man City go a goal up, they may well sit back and try to rip them to shreds on the break.
“Man Utd keep giving teams head-starts. The Saints game, the West Ham game, the RB Leipzig game, they shouldn’t have lost against PSG. They were terrible in the first half against West Ham, and I mean terrible.
“Man Utd can’t put a 90 minutes together, and I think soon enough they’re going to get beaten badly like they were against Tottenham.”
After taking on City, United turn their attention to struggling Sheffield United the following Thursday and then host Leeds United the Sunday after that.
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