A number of Manchester United players have reservations about whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the right man to turn things around at Old Trafford; but the club have no plans to change their manager
Tuesday 9 November 2021 05:50, UK
Manchester United have no plans to replace manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer despite Saturday's defeat in the Manchester derby.
There is no indication from the club that the Norwegian will lose his job during the November international break and, as things stand, he is expected to be in charge for their next Premier League game against Watford.
However, a number of United players have reservations about whether Solskjaer is the right man to turn things around at Old Trafford, after successive home defeats to rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.
The squad are understood to want Solskjaer to succeed, given his status as an ex-player, but the two recent losses have led to some players being concerned about the tactics being deployed.
Speculation over Solskjaer's future was intense following the 5-0 humiliation by Liverpool two weeks ago, but victory at Tottenham and a draw at Atalanta seemed to have calmed the situation down.
Speaking following City's 1-0 win on Saturday, Sky Sports football expert Gary Neville suggested a decision would not be made until after the departure of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward at the end of 2021. No decision has been announced yet regarding his successor.
Sky Sports News understands this process will not have a bearing on any decision regarding Solskjaer, as ultimately the board will make the decision, with the final sign-off from Joel Glazer.
Solskjaer, meanwhile, insisted to Sky Sports after the game that he is not on borrowed time, stating: "No, I don't start to feel like that. I have good communication all the time with the club that's very upfront and honest about the situation.
"I'm sure when we come back the players will be fresh in their minds from internationals, and of course the demands on the players, on me, are going to be high.
"We've just got to get back to what we started to look like and what we were for a while. We've got the players to do that.
"We've been through this a few times. Since the last game we played here [Liverpool defeat], it's been a very difficult period and we've gone away from what we used to be. We need to be on the front foot more, I can't look at myself and say this is the way I want Manchester United to play."
Neville on the Gary Neville Podcast:
"I think these players care. I want to make that point; there were times a few years ago where I left Old Trafford thinking: 'Are these players really with us?' But with these players, I don't think it's a lack of effort or willingness or want. I think those players want to do well, and want to be at Manchester United, every single one of them. But they look like they are suffering badly at this moment in time.
"I think the club will put Saturday down to Pep Guardiola, Manchester City, and believe that this could happen to any team in any season.
"They've got Watford away, Villarreal away and then Chelsea away. That's a horrid, horrid week. This is not going to get any easier in the short term.
"The social media noise is different to the noise in the stadium. They were shouting against Nuno in the Spurs stadium last week; that won't happen here with Ole at Old Trafford. We didn't hear that with Jose, with Van Gaal, with Moyes, or even with Ron Atkinson 35 years ago. The fans here don't do that, they are respectful of the situation, but this is a train off the track at the moment."
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Sky Sports' Adam Bate:
What is next? When the Premier League action resumes, there are more dangers ahead. Watford away precedes a trip to Stamford Bridge before Arsenal come to Old Trafford. An easier looking run of fixtures after that might yet provide some respite for Solskjaer.
Perhaps that will be a chance for Ronaldo to plunder and points to be harvested as United look to finish as the best of the rest and secure the top-four finish that might just prolong this stasis. Too good to prompt a change of course, not good enough to compete.
But with Solskjaer still putting out fires as he approaches three years in the job, what is now clear is that there are three teams in this Premier League title race.
Manchester United are not one of them.
Bruno Fernandes says United are making it "too easy" for opponents as the frustrated midfielder reflected on all too familiar issues in the chastening defeat to City.
"Obviously everyone is frustrated about the result, about the performance too," the Portuguese said.
"We know we can do much better and we know this is not enough for a player who is representing this big club. We have to look at the mirror. I'm saying again the same things probably from the last interview, but that's it.
"We have to look at ourselves, everyone at his home, understand what they can do better to help the team. We just have to apologise to the fans and that's it, because it was not good enough from us.
"Great atmosphere they create. They pushed us until the end, they tried to give that energy to us but from us, it was not enough."