Man Utd beaten 2-1 by Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League on Wednesday; Sky Sports News reporter James Cooper: "The message from United is that they're backing Solskjaer. He is the man for the long-term, but things do need to improve on the pitch"
Friday 6 November 2020 08:09, UK
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer retains the support of Manchester United and is still seen as a long-term appointment, Sky Sports News has been told.
Solskjaer has come under fresh scrutiny in the wake of Wednesday's 2-1 defeat at Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League - their first in the competition this season.
United are currently 15th in the Premier League after losing 1-0 against Arsenal on Sunday, but the club has no plans to replace Solskjaer - despite reports linking former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino with the role at Old Trafford.
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Solskjaer laughed off suggestions his job is under threat after the defeat in Turkey.
"I decline to comment on such a thing," he said in his post-match press conference. "Of course, it's early on and opinions are out there all the time.
"You've got to stay strong. I'm employed by the club to do a job and I do that to the best of my ability with my staff."
United return to Premier League action on Saturday away at Everton, who have also lost their last two matches against Southampton and Newcastle.
Sky Sports News reporter James Cooper...
"From what I'm being told, Manchester United still see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as a long-term project and somebody who should be given the backing and support to do this job. I don't think anything's changed.
"What's their reaction to the last couple of days? I think it's not good. A week ago, we were all saying what an amazing coach and how things have changed under Solskjaer.
"He out-thought RB Leipzig when they won 5-0 at Old Trafford and everything seemed to be changing. The flipside to that is, how on earth did those players beat Leipzig 5-0 and then put in the performances that we've seen over the last couple of games?
"There are major question marks. You saw Solskjaer last night - he was furious with what happened in Istanbul. He protected his players, didn't criticise them too much. But I think you can see that he's expecting a big turnaround against Everton at the weekend.
"We have been here before but most Manchester United fans would tell you, when he needs a result, he gets one. But going to Everton at the weekend won't be easy. November is a sticky time for managers post Sir Alex Ferguson.
"This time last year, there were the same questions against Solskjaer. The message from United is that they're backing Solskjaer. He is the man for the long-term, but things do need to improve on the pitch.
"Everybody will be looking at Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime to see what kind of Manchester United team do turn up. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be leading that team.
"He needs a performance and he also needs a result against Everton."
Former Manchester United assistant manager Steve McClaren says Solskjaer must be "ruthless" with his underperforming players.
"Ole's under pressure. He needs clarity, a clear head and good support staff to tell him the truth," McClaren told Sky Sports News.
"But he also needs to be ruthless, and those players that aren't performing, he has to somehow turn that around. Ole and his staff must take responsibility because there's been that many systems over the last few weeks. There's been a change of personnel - is he trying to keep everybody happy and give everybody a game?
"Those players have to take responsibility also; they're not doing it game in, game out. Yes, Ole takes responsibility, but the players also must look at themselves.
"The game against Everton on Saturday is pivotal but he's been through this situation before - the speculation and everybody calling for his head - but himself, the team and the staff have pulled themselves through and got a result they needed."