Manchester United are reportedly not prepared to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over the international break despite another dismal loss that evidenced the gap between the Red Devils and the Premier League’s elite. The 2-0 Manchester derby defeat by rivals City is not understood to cost Solskjaer his job.
The 48-year-old appeared to have turned around United’s disappointing form last week.
A 3-0 thrashing of Tottenham was followed by a hard-fought 2-2 Champions League draw with Atalanta. Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace in Italy put United on course to qualify for the European knockout stages.
But Solskjaer and his players came crashing back down to earth on Saturday after losing against Manchester City.
An Eric Bailly own goal and a smart finish by Bernardo Silva secured the victory, which could easily have been more comfortable for Pep Guardiola’s side. Phil Foden missed an excellent second-half chance and City were utterly dominant.
United trudged off to boos after the final whistle. However, there were not the kind of scenes that saw supporters stream out of Old Trafford at half-time against Liverpool.
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Sections of the fanbase have called for Solskjaer to be dismissed but the club legend is not expected to lose his job.
According to The Athletic, United are not keen on sacking Solskjaer when Champions League qualification for next season is still possible.
The Old Trafford hierarchy could also prefer to get to the summer with the current set-up still in place.
There is a lack of elite coaches available on the market. Tottenham secured Antonio Conte last week, with United apparently not willing to appoint the Italian themselves.
Spurs are one of five Premier League clubs to part ways with their bosses this season. Watford and Newcastle had already changed managers and they were joined by Norwich and Aston Villa over the weekend.
Many top-flight directors seem to see now as a good opportunity to move in a fresh direction. New bosses will have two weeks to get to know their squad ahead of their first match due to the international break.
But Solskjaer is not expected to become another sacked head coach. He has insisted that he understands the criticism he is facing but says he will continue in the job.
“I understand the critics, of course. We’ve lost two games against Liverpool and City and we weren’t close to winning either of them. I’m not blind or deaf, I’ve seen what’s happened,” Solskjaer told TalkSPORT.
“But I believe in myself, my coaching staff, we have incredible coaching staff with incredible attention to detail. We need to start believing we can do it.
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“Players, staff, fans, everyone. This club will always bounce back and against Watford we will be ready.”
He added: “Human beings, we are easy creatures. Playing well, that’s the only way footballers can get their confidence back. If we go to Watford, start winning, that’s got to be the turning point for us this season.”
Asked about the mood in the dressing room, the Norwegian snapped back: “What do you reckon?”
He added: “It’s about them coming back with belief and energy. Go away, do well with your national teams, make sure you come back with new, fresh energy.
“Let’s start looking like the team we were starting to become. Because we are not that type of team, that’s not us, we are better than that and we will be better than that.”