Manchester United are hoping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can steer them into the knockout stages of the Champions League in order to avoid sacking the 48-year-old just yet, reports say.
The Norwegian has overseen a turbulent campaign at Old Trafford. And another defeat to Watford on Saturday will only see calls for him to lose his job intensify.
United backed Solskjaer massively in the summer transfer window, shelling out on reinforcements in Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
But, in the short time since the trio’s blockbuster arrivals, the Red Devils have regressed.
United will go into Saturday’s match with Watford knowing they can’t afford to lose. Another defeat, and their hopes of winning the Premier League title will be over – with nine points already a big gap.
And the Independent say the Red Devils board are hoping Solskjaer can steer them into the knockout stages of the ChBoard members at Old Trafford are reluctant to pull the trigger on the Norwegian just yet.ampions League to avoid sacking him.
Board members at Old Trafford are reluctant to pull the trigger on the Norwegian just yet.
It’s stated by the publication that the lack of world-class managers available is behind their thinking, with the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag and Brendan Rodgers all working elsewhere.
Zinedine Zidane has been linked but his presence would be to take charge of the France national team instead.
And while Ralf Rangnick has been mooted as a target, there’s nothing to suggest United are interested in the 63-year-old.
Should Solskjaer keep United’s hopes of Champions League glory alive, it’s likely he’ll be given more time in his current role.
But, if he doesn’t, then the Norwegian can expect the axe to fall.
United have been hit and miss in the competition this year, often relying on Ronaldo to dig them out of a hole.
They lost 2-1 in their opening fixture of the tournament to Young Boys, with Jesse Lingard’s late mistake proving costly.
United were then facing another loss to Villarreal yet goals from Alex Telles and Ronaldo saw them claim all three points.
Against Atalanta, on matchday three, the Red Devils trailed 2-0 going into the interval.
But Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Ronaldo all struck to spare Solskjaer from further humiliation.
And Ronaldo was again the hero against the Serie A giants last time out, bagging a dramatic late equaliser in a 2-2 draw.
Speaking ahead of United’s Premier League clash with Watford on Saturday, meanwhile, Solskjaer admitted he was raring to get back to work.
“Of course, I’ve been in contact and communicated with the club as I do all the time anyway,” he said.
“It’s been a long international break but it’s one that we’ve utilised to our benefit.
“We feel it’s been a good response from the players and we’re ready for the Watford game.
“International breaks are always periods to refresh and to keep working on different things and this time around we’ve had a few players having to pull out.
“So quite a few of them have been here doing individual sessions, recovery sessions, some players were allowed to go abroad to visit families.
“It’s always the case when everyone comes in everyone’s bright and ready.
“This week has been a good week, we’ve had a chance to work with everyone on quite a few things.”
And he also added: “They haven’t had a change of mentality, that’s the wrong way of saying it.
“They love playing football, winning, when we left each other 13 days ago no one was happy when they left Old Trafford,” he said.
“But then there is another game, another game and another game, they enjoy the comp in their countries and this week, it’s been a very determined and focused group, we’ve worked on a few things and hopefully, we see that against Watford.”