Before Saturday’s Premier League clash between Everton and Manchester United, many pundits had predicted the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, should the Red Devils lose the game. After a poor run of form which had seen Manchester United fail to win any of their last two games in all competitions, the Norwegian was under a lot of pressure.
"There is an expectation. We have to be tough mentally. We are the best and biggest club in the world. [After Wednesday] we didn't expect anything but criticism. It is how you deal with it,” Solskjaer said ahead of his side’s visit to Goodison Park, as quoted by the BBC.
"The boys are ready for a reaction. We are all hurt. It is never easy when you lose two games on the bounce but that is football," said Solskjaer.
Right reaction after back-to-back defeats
The Manchester United boss called for a reaction and he got just that from his players against Everton. The team had to come from behind to beat Carlo Ancelotti’s side on Saturday. They fell behind to a 19th-minute strike by Bernard before Bruno Fernandes produced his best performance of the season to steer United to victory.
The Portuguese headed in the equaliser in the 25th minute before putting the Red Devils ahead with another strike before half-time, albeit through fortuitous circumstances. Fernandes went on to set up Edinson Cavani to score his first goal since joining Manchester United on deadline day, sealing a 3-1 win.
While this was a deserved win, it also serves as a respite for Solskjaer, who has been under intense pressure in recent weeks. The back-to-back losses against Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir only worsened matters for the manager.
Throughout the week, rumours were rife that the Manchester United hierarchy had gotten in touch with Mauricio Pochettino to replace the Norwegian. While these reports may have been inaccurate, there is no doubt that the manager's job was on the line.
The Red Devils are yet to hit the heights expected of them this season despite a huge investment outlay in the summer. That, coupled with the fact that the manager has so far failed to get the best out of some players, has made Solskjaer a target in the media.
However, the victory against Everton buys him time. Fortunately, Manchester United have some winnable fixtures coming up in the next few weeks. Another two wins on the bounce and the fans are likely to love him again.
For now, though, Solskajer can enjoy some respite after leading Manchester United to an comprehensive important victory against Everton.Published 07 Nov 2020, 20:57 IST