Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn’t happy with fresh reports that he could be fired as Manchester United’s manager.
A report from The Sun suggested that Solskjaer has told his players that if they lose against Tottenham at home on Wednesday and at crosstown rivals Man City on Saturday, he will be fired as Man United’s manager.
Speaking to the media ahead of the clash against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs on Wednesday (Watch live, 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Solskjaer wasn’t as calm as he usually is.
“I am good. Absolutely no problem. Sometimes you laugh when you read stories about what I’ve said and stuff. At least I know the sources everyone is talking about aren’t sources, they are just made up, blatant lies,” Solskjaer said.
It would be weird if Solskjaer wasn’t feeling the pressure right now. Right? With Mauricio Pochettino linked with a move to United on a daily basis, Solskjaer needs a big week from his young players who have only impressed in flashes this season. Even their big money defensive additions have failed to shore things up at the back.
With United nine points off the top four after successive draws against Sheffield United and Aston Villa, qualification for the UEFA Champions League looks a long way off. In fact, United are just six points above the relegation zone going into the midweek slate of games.
Solskjaer is putting a brave face on things but admitted that he is in constant communication with executive vice chairman Ed Woodward and results must improve.
“We have had too many draws for my liking – defeats as well, but draws we should have turned into wins. Football is a results business and we’re not happy and know we should do better,” Solskjaer said. “We speak all the time, it’s not like a knee-jerk ‘suddenly we need to talk’ – we speak a few times every week. It’s continually progressing, the plans, the rebuilding we know we started, we made some decisions that were necessary and of course we are not happy where we are but will continue working.”
He also gave an injury update on star midfielder Paul Pogba, who won’t play against Tottenham but Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic are battling back to full fitness as Solskjaer aims to solve his imbalance in central midfield.
“No. Paul’s not ready, no,” Solskjaer said. “He’s still a bit away but he’s working hard so let’s see. He’s out on the grass, so let’s see how long it will take.”
Solskjaer knows his United team have fared better against the top teams this season, as they’ve beaten Chelsea and Leicester, drawn against Liverpool, Wolves and Arsenal, while they haven’t lost to a team in the top 10.
Four points from these games against Tottenham and Man City will silence plenty of Solskjaer’s doubters.