LONDON • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer vowed yesterday 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 by Tottenham early last month, 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 1-0 defeat at home by Arsenal.
The Red Devils are languishing in 15th spot in the Premier League table and scrutiny has ratcheted up on Solskjaer ahead of today’s crunch trip to Everton.
United will have their lowest points tally after seven matches since the 1989-90 season if they fail to win at Goodison Park.
But asked at his virtual pre-match press conference yesterday if he was still certain of being a success at Old Trafford as he was when permanently appointed manager in March last year, 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?
“I don’t look at one or two results and fall like a house of cards, it’s a setback, definitely, there’s been too much made of not scoring against Arsenal and Chelsea.
“There’ve been nothing in those games and it’s not long ago we were the best thing since sliced bread against Leipzig and PSG.”
The Norwegian also insisted neither he nor the players were too downcast over their recent bad run of results and he was trusting them to show a “response” against the Toffees, who are fourth in the table and six points above United, having played a game more.
“You have to be mentally strong, there are demands on Manchester United players, coaches and manager,” the former United striker said.
There is an expectation, we are at the best and biggest club in the world and you don’t expect anything but criticism then. It’s how you deal with that setback and from what I’ve seen from the boys they’ve been very focused.
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“There is an expectation, we are at the best and biggest club in the world and you don’t expect anything but criticism then. It’s how you deal with that setback and from what I’ve seen from the boys, they’ve been very focused… I became a man at Manchester United and have learnt how to deal with good and bad times.”
But returning to winning ways could be tricky after United failed to have the lunch-time kick-off rescheduled.
“It might have an impact on the team selection and subs we make depending on the game of course,” Solskjaer admitted earlier.
“12.30pm on a Saturday doesn’t help us but that’s what the Champions League gives to you.”
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti believes his side should have a “physical advantage” today as they look to bounce back from consecutive defeats.
“The top teams have a really, really big schedule so it is really difficult for them,” said the Italian, who will welcome back playmaker James Rodriguez and defender Lucas Digne but remains without the suspended Richarlison.
“So we can take advantage of this on a physical aspect, above all.”
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