Manchester United could sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer if they lose Man City showdown

Man U manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks ahead of Man City match

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Manchester United have, until now, held fire on sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Norwegian has survived rumours over Antonio Conte, who has since gone to Tottenham, despite his side falling to a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool mere weeks ago. And with Manchester City up next, another bad result could feasibly see the 48-year-old lose his job at Old Trafford.

Manchester United were dire when they lost to Liverpool in their last home Premier League match.

The result was safe for Jurgen Klopp’s side by half time, with the Reds 4-0 up by the time players trudged down the tunnel.

And with Mohamed Salah scoring another after the break, it was a nightmare afternoon for United and everybody associated with the club.

After the defeat, Solskjaer seemed a dead man walking.

He certainly looked down in the dumps as he applauded fans, those who remained inside the ground until the very end, and made his way off the field.

But here we are, nearly two weeks later, and the Norwegian remains in charge.

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However, he’s not out the woods just yet. While Conte has now gone to Tottenham, Solskjaer’s position is still very much under threat.

Last week’s 3-0 win over Tottenham was certainly a good start when it comes to making amends for the shambles against Liverpool.

Cristiano Ronaldo was brilliant that day, as well as Edinson Cavani, while Marcus Rashford continued his fine form with a goal.

But they were fortunate to get a draw against Atalanta in midweek, relying on Ronaldo to save the day with a last-minute goal.

So here we are.

With City up next, United now have a big afternoon on their hands. Another defeat, for Solskjaer, could be fatal.

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Should they fail to leave the contest with anything to their name, they’ll be at risk of falling 11 points behind Chelsea at the top of the table.

After 11 matches, that simply isn’t good enough.

United backed Solskjaer substantially in the summer, giving him transfer backing other managers can only dream of.

Not only did they sign Ronaldo, who has bagged nine goals in 12 outings across all competitions since returning from Juventus.

But United also spent big on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, two of the best players in the game.

The Glazers will not have bargained for United’s season playing out like this given the transfer business they sanctioned.

And losing to City would effectively end United’s chances of winning the title before anyone’s even had a bite to eat at Christmas.

Throw in the fact the Times have claimed this match is ‘likely to be pivotal in determining whether Solskjaer keeps his job’, and it’s possible this could be the Norwegian’s last match at the helm.

Of course, though, things can change in football.

If United win, rather than lose, there will suddenly be a sense that Solskjaer has come out of this crisis the other side.

But only after the 90 minutes are up will clarity over his position be provided.

Lose, and he’s back to being a dead man walking. This time, however, the axe may actually fall.

Meanwhile, speaking before the match, Solskjaer is adamant United can emerge victorious.

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“Of course I am. We’ve had a good record lately,” he said when asked if he was looking forward to the match.

“As a player, I didn’t have too good a record, but in the last few games [against City] we’ve really shown that we can have good performances and, as I said, the last couple of results have shown that.”

And he admitted the 2-0 win over City in March 2020 was ’special’, adding: “That’s one of the best atmospheres I’ve felt, especially in that moment when Scott [McTominay] scored the 2-0 goal.

“It was the last time we had a full crowd [for a derby].

“Of course we’ve had a few decent nights after that as well, but that was a special, special day.”

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