LONDON (AFP) – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer vowed on Friday (Nov 6) he would not “fall like a house of cards” after damaging defeats ramped up the pressure on the Manchester United manager.
The Red Devils reacted impressively following the chastening 6-1 home defeat to predecessor Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham at the start of October but things have gone badly awry in the past week.
United fell to an embarrassing 2-1 loss to Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League on Wednesday, just days after a flat performance in the 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal.
United are languishing in 15th spot in the Premier League table.
Scrutiny has ratcheted up on Solskjaer ahead of Saturday’s crunch trip to Everton. They would have their lowest points tally after seven matches since 1989-90 if they fail to win.
But asked at his pre-match press conference if he is as certain of being successful at United as he was when permanently appointed manager, Solskjaer said: “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?
“If I don’t trust my beliefs and values and my staff’s quality and the players’ quality, who else should?”
Solskjaer added: “I don’t look at one or two results and fall like a house of cards. But, yeah, setback definitely.”
The United boss said too much had been made about his team’s inability to score against Arsenal and Chelsea, adding that they had been widely praised after their wins against Leipzig and PSG.
One quirk is that their away performances have been strikingly good while they have struggled at home, where they have struggled to break down opposition defences.
Defeat in Turkey ended United’s longest away winning run in all competitions in their history – 10 straight victories.
“It’s not too long ago we were the best thing since sliced bread when you beat Leipzig and PSG, so there’s ups and downs in football and that’s just the way it has to be,” said Solskjaer.
“You’ve got to have that belief in yourself, belief in the players.”
United have reacted well to setbacks under Solskjaer, who has been at the helm for two years and a positive response will be crucial at Goodison Park before the international break.
“You have to be mentally strong,” the Norwegian said. “Of course there’s demands on a Man United player and a coach and a manager.
“There’s also an expectation because we are at the best and the biggest club in the world.”
Club great Solskjaer understands the pressures and expectations at Old Trafford better than most.
But the 1999 treble winner remains confident that he retains the backing of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and the United hierarchy.
“With me, today it’s sunny in Manchester,” said Solskjaer. “I don’t expect the wind to turn. Of course there’s always pressure and expectations on us.
“But I’ve grown up here, or I became a man at Manchester United, and I’ve learnt how to deal with good and bad times.”