Football

Man Utd boss Solskjaer claims he’s sown seeds of future success as he clings to his job


OLE and the Beanstalk, a pantomime coming to an empty stadium near you.

The story of a baby-faced manager who was given money which he spent on seeds rather than a ready-made route to the top.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United reign could be at risk should his side suffer more defeats in the Prem

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United reign could be at risk should his side suffer more defeats in the PremCredit: PA:Press Association

He would wait and see things grow to get to his pot of gold.

And while his critics might have started shouting ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of a Norwegian’, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mounted a passionate defence of his work.

 He said: “We have planted a seed, the tree is growing.

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“Some clubs just rip up that tree and see if it is still growing and see if it is still getting water underneath.”

So while the spectre of Mauricio Pochettino might have some shouting ‘he’s behind you’, Solskjaer still has the belief in his long-term plan.

That plan was to build a young hungry team that would grow together and make big strides.

While there might be stumbles on the way he is convinced it is still going in the right direction.

Solskjaer said: “The culture and the mentality in the group has improved immensely.

Mauricio Pochettino is rumoured to be in line for the United job should Solskjaer face the chop

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Mauricio Pochettino is rumoured to be in line for the United job should Solskjaer face the chopCredit: Getty Images – Getty

“They do really have the mindset of improving all the time and winning.”

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If they did that a bit more often, however, Solskjaer would not have to keep defending them.

Whatever you might think of his managerial credentials while at the wheel, Ole never throws anyone under the bus.

He remains constantly positive.

Yesterday, as his press conference started on Zoom due to Covid-19 restrictions, he began pressing  buttons on the screen and joking about recent technical headaches the club has endured doing these.

His message following that was straight and clear, after 101 games in charge, he remains the man to make Manchester United successful.

He said: “Yeah, why shouldn’t I be? If I don’t trust my belief and values and staff’s quality and players’ quality, who else should?

“I don’t look at one or two results and fall like a house of cards. It’s a setback, definitely.

“But there’s been too much made of not scoring against Arsenal and Chelsea. There’s been nothing in those games and it’s not long ago we were the best thing since sliced bread against Leipzig and PSG.”

Indeed they were, beating those two in the Champions League to banish memories of the 6-1 drubbing by Tottenham before the last international break.

But all the bad memories resurfaced with a 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal and 2-1 loss away to Istanbul Basaksehir in midweek.

Former Old Trafford boss David Moyes reckons his old job is the most pressurised in club football

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Former Old Trafford boss David Moyes reckons his old job is the most pressurised in club footballCredit: EPA

The fact is  they travel to Goodison Park to face Everton this lunchtime 15th in the league, with the prospect of dropping to 16th if they lose.

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David Moyes, who was sacked by United after losing at his former club Everton in 2014, yesterday said: “Manchester United probably has more pressure than any club in the world and it comes with the job.

“We all know exactly what happens if we don’t win enough games.”

As he heads to Merseyside, former Red Devils striker Solskjaer said: “I became a man at Manchester United and have learnt how to deal with good and bad times.

“The pressure of leading and managing United is a pressure that you have to have strong shoulders and a strong head to carry.

“I’ve never really been in too dark a place. When I’m not playing well or when the team is not doing well I don’t get too carried away.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team need to pick up maximum points against Everton

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team need to pick up maximum points against Everton Credit: Reuters

“You have to be mentally strong, there are demands on Manchester United players, coach and manager and also an expectation.

“We are at the best and biggest club in the world and you don’t expect anything but criticism.

“It’s how you deal with that setback — and from what I’ve seen from the boys they’ve been very focused.”

They did not really look it on Wednesday when they took a corner and failed to notice Demba Ba upfield on his own waiting for the ball to be cleared.

That led to Basaksehir’s opening goal and scathing assessment from the pundits.

So did Ole tear into his United players for it?

Every time you play for Manchester United, that passion and fight are things you expect to see.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

He said: “You will never get me to tell you what I say behind the scenes!

“But of course I will never ever shirk the fact I’m responsible.

“I’m responsible for decisions, team selections, strategy and plan — and sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you’ve planned.”

The worry in the defeats this season — and there have been three in six Premier League games — is the lack of fight shown.

Solskjaer added: “Every time you play for Manchester United, that  passion and fight are things you expect to see.

“To earn the right to win a game of football you need that.

“And definitely against Everton, with or without fans at Goodison Park, you still have to have that  fight and passion in you — that’s  a given.”

If not, that tree he is growing will start to list and may be heading for the chop.

Still Solskjaer remains ever positive as he looked out on a bright day at Carrington yesterday, commenting: “It’s sunny in Manchester, I don’t expect the wind to turn.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backs Man Utd players to show fight and passion ahead of Everton clash





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