Manchester United

Man Utd fans have reached catch-22 situation over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future

Jamie Spencer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still has a chance to save his Man Utd job
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still has a chance to save his Man Utd job / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages
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Manchester United fans suddenly find themselves in a catch-22 situation when it comes to the future of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Opinion has long been split over the Norwegian but Sunday’s humiliating 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool saw the tide turn against him, surely irreversibly.

There would be few who now argue that Solskjaer is still the right man for the club, the one who can take the squad to the next level, complete the rebuild and deliver long-overdue trophies. That being said, separating support for the man himself and criticism of his ability as a coach is still possible.

The collapse against Liverpool was a continuation of what happened against Atalanta and Leicester in preceding games, made worse by coming up against the best team United have faced this season by some distance. Team is right because the 48-year-old doesn't seem to have created one at Old Trafford, with a lack of tactical cohesion on the pitch increasingly apparent.

Solskjaer has survived the sack for now and is expected to get the next three games – against Tottenham, Atalanta and Manchester City – to prove that the rot hasn’t set in and that recent results and performances, not only against Liverpool, are just a temporary blip.

The club, having previously dismissed David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho earlier than their respective contracts promised, has been reluctant to pull the trigger a fourth time in little over eight years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Yet to many fans, Solskjaer’s goose is cooked, so to speak. There is no coming back from this and even if he somehow rallies and oversees positive results against Spurs, Atalanta and City - which is not out of the question given that he has done it in the past, albeit not with the pressure as it is now - it achieves nothing but kicking the can only slightly further down the road.

If the club wants to give him the chance to prove himself one final time, winning – or at least not losing – those games is very unlikely to give fans calling for his head what they want.

But the next step on from that is fans actively wishing for United defeats to drive home the point to the decision makers. That feels like very iffy territory to start getting into and risks the integrity that drives becoming a football supporter in the first place.

The notion has already caused furious infighting among fans on social media, between those who are so desperate for action and change the sacrifice is worth it, and others who could never do anything but get behind the team no matter the circumstances.

The idea that the answer is to make things better before they get worse is an uneasy one at best. But what is clear now, as the situation sits ahead of the weekend, is that there is no easy solution.


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