Solskjaer Calm About United Future Despite Sackings

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leaves after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 1, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he does not fear for his future as Manchester United manager despite a spate of Premier League sackings as he prepares to face his predecessor Jose Mourinho.

Spurs turned to Mourinho after dismissing Mauricio Pochettino last month, while Arsenal and Watford have subsequently sacked Unai Emery and Quique Sanchez Flores.

Solskjaer is under increasing pressure, with United ninth in the Premier League, 22 points behind leaders Liverpool and eight off a top-four spot as they prepare for Wednesday’s match against Tottenham.

“No, it doesn’t make me more concerned,” Solskjaer said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.  “I’m just focusing on my job and that’s just doing as well as I can, and look forward to the next game, and look long-term, plan things with board.

“It’s that time of year. It’s never nice to see your colleagues lose your jobs — three in a very short space of time.

“It’s a game of margins,” he added. “Sometimes you have luck, sometimes you don’t, but it doesn’t make me any more concerned that it’s December.

“I’m good, absolutely no problem. Sometimes you laugh when you read stories about what I’ve said and stuff, at least I know the sources are just made up, blatant lies.”

The United boss bemoaned his team’s failure to turn draws into wins, saying they were not getting the results their football deserved.

The club are winless in three games and Solskjaer’s job will not get any easier with a derby against Manchester City on Saturday to follow the game against Mourinho’s Spurs side.

The Norwegian, though, dismissed any need for crisis talks with the United board.

“Three days or four days are not going to change a whole lot, but these two games are great chances for us to prove things and prove to ourselves that we can continue in the vein we have had against some of the better sides,” he said.

Solskjaer expects Mourinho to receive a warm welcome when he returns to Old Trafford a year after being sacked, having won the League Cup and Europa League during his time in charge.

“We know we have to improve, we are working hard to do that right and when you change a manager halfway through the season (it) isn’t where it is supposed to be,” said the Norwegian.

“I don’t think whoever the manager of the opposition team is will change their motivation (of the players),” he said.

“They are motivated to do well for Man Utd, because they know it’s about improving every day in training and every time you step on that pitch it’s a chance to prove you can be part of this long term. That has always been the case at Man Utd.”

United will still be without the injured Paul Pogba but Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic will be assessed as Solskjaer looks at his midfield options.

AFP

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