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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

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Solskjaer’s comment on Man United’s progress should set alarm bells ringing

Isn’t it annoying when you make a comment that completely contradicts something you’ve said previously and your mates point it out and make you look daft?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows exactly how that feels but on a much larger scale.

Just two weeks ago, the Manchester United boss stood defiantly in front of the Sky Sports cameras following his side’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool and offered the following retort when questioned on his future at the club: “I have come too far, we have come too far as a group, and we are too close to give up now.”

While many disagreed with Solskjaer’s comment, you couldn’t knock his evident self-belief that he was the man to bring the halcyon days he once helped deliver as a player back to Old Trafford.

And yet, shortly after making the lonely trudge towards the post-match interview area once again on Saturday as he prepared to face the music following another abysmal home outing, Solskjaer provided a very different evaluation of his side.

“At the moment, yeah, we are [far off the top teams] but we’ve got to get back to what we started to look like and we started to look like a proper team towards the end of last season and the start of this season,” he said after United’s 2-0 defeat to local rivals Manchester City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future at Old Trafford is on the line (Image: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images.) Now, it can’t be easy having your every word analysed in fine detail, yet the stark contract in Solskjaer’s comments is too vast to ignore.

After all, surely his aim as United boss is to have them competing with the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and City? How can they possibly be on the brink of dining at England’s top table on 24 October and yet be miles off such standing on 6 November? If United were “close” two weeks ago, what were they “close” to?

It would be easy to conclude that Solskjaer has simply accepted his fate having been forced to endure weeks of speculation surrounding his future, yet the Norwegian tactician has shown countless times before – both as a player and a manager – that he’s not the type of character to go down without a fight.

United fans have been left utterly bemused by some of the decisions Solskjaer has made both pre-match and mid-match in recent weeks, yet it now seems he can add post-match comments to his growing repertoire of things that leave supporters scratching their heads.

Naturally, it would be remiss of me to completely ignore the fact post-match interviews lend themselves to managers and players saying things in the heat of the moment that they may later regret, and so perhaps Solskjaer should be given the benefit of the doubt on this occasion.

However, this United team is desperately in need of clear direction right now and such bemusing post-match comments don’t bode well.

Just like you, we can’t get enough of Manchester United! That’s why we’ve decided to supplement our expansive United coverage on the Manchester Evening News with a more fan-oriented platform catered specifically to United fans – United On My Mind.

Writers and presenters who share your passion for the red side of Manchester will be producing written, visual and audio content to reflect the mood in the stands as well as the press box.

Follow our team on Twitter (@MikeParrott_, @GarrickOmar, @Casey_Evans_ and @AnilKandola)!

One thing I will say in Solskjaer’s defence is that watching his team over the past few weeks has been absolute torture (this compliment does get better, I promise) so at least he’s making up for it by providing us with a bit of entertainment after the game.

Probably not what you want from the manager of the biggest club in the world but we’ve got to try and find something to smile about right now.

Do you think Solskjaer is the man to take United forward? Follow United On My Mind content editor Ross Jackson on Twitter and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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