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Saturday, November 27, 2021

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Man Utd legends split on Solskjaer as Ferdinand, Neville, Scholes have their say

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER’S future as Manchester United manager is one of the most pertinent questions in English football right now.

The Norwegian boss has watched his side lose four of their last six Premier League games, with the humiliations at home to Liverpool and Manchester City in particular leading to many wanting him sacked.

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Solskjaer has come under an extraordinary amount of pressure following recent resultsCredit: PA But his old Man Utd teammates remain divided on his future, with a number of them publicly addressing how they see Solskjaer’s current situation.

Here are just some of the opinions from those who played alongside him.

GARY NEVILLE – STAY Gary Neville has always remained aggressively behind the decision not to sack Solskjaer, insisting he would never call for a manager to be axed.

He said: “I thought Jose Mourinho was a better manager than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, I thought Louis Van Gaal was, David Moyes was.

“They’ve all had better pedigrees than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, however, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has finished second in the league and has gained position so there’s no science to that question.

“There are better managers, of course, there are better managers in terms of credentials and on paper but the confusion that exists at this club at this moment in time is they’ve gone for two managers previously that have world-class credentials and that shouldn’t stop them doing it again.

“I think that’s where the confusion or the hesitancy comes from the board that they’ve been down this route of bringing in a Mourinho before so they wouldn’t bring in a Conte cause they’d be burnt by that.”

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Neville has remained behind Solskjaer throughout his spell as manager of the clubCredit: AFP PETER SCHMEICHEL – STAY Last month, former Red Devils keeper Peter Schmeichel backed Solskjaer despite a poor run of results.

Schmeichel told The Times: “It’s [unbalanced wage bill] one of Ole’s problems. He is still cleaning up. Players who shouldn’t be there on long contracts and high wages.

“Sometimes you wonder who is doing what with Ole and the coaches. Who is the real boss? Who decides? When he is interviewed pre-match, he says: ‘We put this team out, we decided.’ I think: ‘You are the boss.’

“The problem Ole has is that in this world of quick fixes and fast news he has to win yesterday. It has to be delivered now. But it’s not the real world. We stopped that development for a period and our competitors closed the gap then ran away.

“We have to catch them but I believe — in the way we have done in the biggest periods with Sir Matt [Busby] and with Sir Alex — that if you build and take time then you get it right for a very long time. That’s what I meant with that line about heart and soul.

“Liverpool, how long did it take them to get it right? Only when they found a manager who understood the club. Ole is there now and I hope he stays. But if there is a change in the next couple of years, I hope the club really does the due diligence.”

LOUIS SAHA – STAY Ex-Man Utd striker Louis Saha is another of Solskjaer’s teammates who remains supportive of him.

“Ole will still have respect after bad performances because there is some connection,” he said. “He understands the fans, he understands what the expectation is, the culture, the style of play the player and club needs. So for that, he has improved the team and nobody can challenge that.

“It’s also definitely a better place to work under him. Those managers had different ways and were different characters, that’s fair to them with their success and pedigree, but it wasn’t working as much. The atmosphere at work is way better. So for that, the fans recognised that and gave him more time and respect. Same for the staff themselves.

“The board has recognised that, they have given time, then they have put money on the table to bring in some really top players, so all that is a strategy. And maybe one year ago people were challenging him because the transfer window was not good – but this window nobody can talk, nobody can say anything.

“The board has delivered, even with the dramatic story of the Super League, straight after they managed to do what was best for the club, so I think it was a good choice to remain loyal to Ole Gunnar Solskjær.”

MIKAEL SILVESTRE – STAY Mikael Silvestre, a former centre-back at Old Trafford, also believes the Norwegian should be given more time.

Silvestre told MyBettingSites.co.uk: “The team won’t suffer another heavy defeat [like they did against Liverpool].

“They will put on a fight, especially at home, for the supporters. Ole’s job is safe because he’s got enough credit and the players responded at Spurs.

“They picked up a point away from home against Atalanta, they are a decent team. United are still leading the Champions League group, so it’s a good response after the 5-0 defeat.

“At the moment Ole needs more time because we’re only at the beginning of November and players joined late in the window. He needs time to find the right balance with the new players, it’s not easy. Nine times out of 10, changing the manager is not the answer.

“The target is to win trophies, so you need to be in the race in March and April. That gives him a lot of time to improve the team.”

ROY KEANE – GO Roy Keane hammered Man Utd after their defeat to rivals City at the weekend.

And while he did not explicitly say Solskjaer should go, he hinted that a change is now needed.

Keane said: “You have to draw the line now. It’s not quite happening. Ole is a brilliant guy and an honest guy but management is about survival and he’s got to get a result in the next game.

“A coach or a manager can’t give a player courage. I have to remind myself it’s hard out there but they shouldn’t be 11 points behind [league leaders] Chelsea.”

“I think Ole will be under more pressure than the Liverpool game. The way they lost, it’s a derby game.”

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Keane was raging at what he saw in the Manchester derbyCredit: Getty RIO FERDINAND – GO Rio Ferdinand finally admitted he believes it is time for change in the managerial hotseat following the defeat to Man City.

He told his FIVE YouTube channel: “He’s come in and given the fans hope again, made the fans want to come back and watch your team again of Solskjaer.

“He’s done that. He has done a great job in that sense. But is he going to take us to win titles? Is he going to make us challenge to win a Champions League?

“The football club will be living here and breathing here longer than any individual. It’s what’s best for this football club.

“I just feel that maybe it might be time now for the baton to be handed over. Who can take us on now? And I think Ole would leave now with his head held high.”

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Ferdinand has admitted he feels Solskjaer should step asideCredit: Rex PAUL SCHOLES – ON THE FENCE Unlike all the other ex-United pros, Paul Scholes remains unsure about whether or not Solskjaer should be given the chop.

The former Oldham Athletic manager said: “The conviction has to come from the coach of the way you’re going to play football. Ole has been here three years now and we’ve come here today not really knowing what he’s going to do.

“That makes the recruitment almost impossible because you’re not buying players for a system.

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Scholes added: “Three years down the line you can see the evidence on the pitch, today and two weeks ago we are a long way off.

“I do think we’ve got a group of good players but Ole has to convince everyone that he is the right man to find the right formation for this team.

“Stop messing about changing it for everyone else. He’s got to now have a conviction, whatever it is I don’t care just have that conviction.”

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