Mon. Aug 15th, 2022

If there was any doubt about Manchester United’s attitude towards Ole Gunnar Solskjær, you only have to look at Mike Phelan’s new contract to understand that the club has no plans to release the Norwegian from his duties.

It is understood that both Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna, also key members of Solskjærer’s coaching team, are queuing up for extensions in a move that shows the board’s support for the current structure.

December marks three years since Solskjær took over the post from the fired Jose Mourinho. He has been tipped to be sacked on many occasions since, perhaps more than any other manager in the Premier League, but he is still here.

Solskjær has had to defend himself and United’s early season form; he was tested again last weekend after a draw against Everton, whether he thought he was the right man to take United on.

“It’s the same question that was asked after Wednesday night (2-1 against Villarreal in the Champions League). I am very convinced that we will get the best out of this squad, ”he replied.

“A lot has happened this month and we have had Raphael [Varane] and Jadon [Sancho] with us since August, and Cristiano [Ronaldo] since September.

“We have a lot to work with and we need to improve, we know, and I know, but I believe in this group of players and the coaching staff I have. So the short answer is yes. ”

This time last year, Maurcio Pochettino was tipped to replace him and he was forced to defend United’s poor start to the season, but every time there has been a crisis, Solskjaer has managed to get his team out of it – often against odds.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær Manchester United GFX

Pulling the results out of the bag when they are most needed has been a common theme for his three-year term. In the 2019-20 season, it was almost cyclical; the team would go through a bad spell, have a hard game and win it.

Think back to United signing for Sheffield United, losing to Astana, drawing to Aston Villa but continuing to beat Tottenham at home and Manchester City away.

This next round of games may provide another example. United are in a better position in the league than this time last year and are four points better off after seven games. But now comes the real test.

Leicester away, Liverpool at home, Tottenham away and Manchester City at home are their next four leagues. Loss and pressure will increase. But win these battles, and that title talk will slowly return, such is the nature of the task.

Solskjær is not under the illusion that he will deliver this season, and that is something that compatriot John Arne Riise thinks he can do.

“I think Solskjær is doing well. He keeps his composure and focuses on the things he can do something about with the team. He does not care so much about the press or what people write about him, “said the former Liverpool man Goal.

“One week he is the worst manager in history, the next he makes great subs and looks good again. He’s used to that. It’s a hard job, one of the biggest clubs in the world to manage. He’s always going to be under a lot of pressure. He needs to win something and that’s why I was disappointed that they went out of the League Cup so quickly. ”

Carabao Cup exit to West Ham was a big blow for Solskjær. Not only is it the easiest of the four trophies available to win, but elimination also makes juggling playing time for his squad players even more difficult.

He openly admits that it is not his job to keep all the players happy, but life will be harder for the United manager in January if people like Donny van de Beek push for an exit after barely seeing minutes.

With a trophy out of four already out of reach and the realistic prospects of two other competitions to become clearer over the next four weeks, the pressure over this next race of games is huge.

Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United GFX Ole Gunnar Solskjær

“The nature of the job here is that if you are the manager of Manchester United, you will be under pressure,” former United defender Denis Irwin told Goal. “Ole is entering his third season after making some fantastic purchases this summer, and I do not think he has any illusions about what that means. As a former player who has played with him, we all desperately want him to succeed and believe he is the right man. ”

The performance in recent weeks has been poor and there is no masking over it. But the club believes the foundation he has put in place over the last three years and the progress he has made means there is no need to make decisions over a few poor results.

Sources say they will not be distracted by ‘hysteria’ on social media and there is still confidence in the direction the team is going.

“He has been backed up and given good money and we have seen the progress he has made but now he needs to kick on,” Dwight told Yorke Goal. “When you have the talent and the squad we have, expectations rise further, and that is understandable, especially when you look at the attacking line-up.

“We have a fantastic goalkeeper and strength in the central defenders. I just think we have so much there. For us to think that we can not win the league or that people say they are not safe … that’s not how my mentality would be if I were to manage that football team right now.

“I think there is enough in that team to win the Premier League this season.”

The next month will be the key if Solskjær is to realize his league-winning dream, but even if it is not a perfect sweep, he will still have the support of those above and around him.

As John Murtough, the club’s football director, said: “We have a long-term strategy and confidence in the direction we are going. We must stay in control, let us not get carried away, do not deviate from our plan. Ole and the staff are very focused on that. “

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