Manchester United v Manchester City Match in Pictures
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Manchester United now have a big decision to make when it comes to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future. The Norwegian’s reign stooped to a new low on Saturday, with his side losing 2-0 to Manchester City at Old Trafford. And the result means that questions are bound to be asked, amid the hierarchy’s longstanding interest in Paris Saint-Germain’s Mauricio Pochettino.
United, for what feels like the millionth time this season, were outclassed by their Premier League rivals on Saturday.
Eric Bailly’s own goal put City ahead in the seventh minute, with the Ivory Coast international horrendously slicing into his own net.
And Bernardo Silva then scored before the interval to secure all three points for his side.
It was, once again, another bad day at the office for United.
Most alarming of all was how passive they were in defeat, with the Red Devils getting nowhere near Pep Guardiola’s team on the day.
And, now, United have a big decision to make.
They stuck with Solskjaer after the 5-0 battering at the hands of Liverpool nearly two weeks ago, despite the clamour for him to go being huge.
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But this was just as bad. United were insipid and dire, a class below their biggest rivals of them all.
Solskjaer, after the game, insisted he was the right manager for the job.
“I have good communication with the club,” said the 48-year-old when asked about his position by Sky Sports.
“I want the best for United and as long as I’m here I want to do everything I can to improve this.”
But, now, there’s every chance the United hierarchy will make a change.
And it’s an open secret how they feel about Pochettino, who has been of interest to the board for a number of years.
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When they sacked Jose Mourinho in December 2018, United put Solskjaer in charge on an interim basis because Pochettino, who was at Tottenham at the time, was their No 1 target.
They had planned on pursuing him at the end of the campaign and, what’s more, believed he’d be interested in the role.
However, when Solskjaer defied all expectations, United gave the 48-year-old the job permanently.
Yet over the past couple of weeks, it’s become clear that the Red Devils are still huge admirers of Pochettino.
Though his time at Paris Saint-Germain has been full of highs and lows, the Argentine has plenty of credit in the Old Trafford boardroom.
And if United really want to sack Solskjaer now, it’s possible they’ll do all they can to bring Pochettino in the door.
Of course, for now, he seems happy at PSG.
But it’s feasible to think he could take the United job at the end of the campaign should results in England continue to go from bad to worse.
Obviously, any pursuit wouldn’t be straightforward.
But United are a club in crisis, a wounded animal. And if they’re to ever get Pochettino, they’d be wise to act now to show they’re serious about winning titles again.
Under Solskjaer, that isn’t going to happen.
And Roy Keane believes his old team-mate now faces ‘big questions’ over his future in the aftermath of the defeat.
“You have to draw the line now. It’s not quite happening,” the ex-United captain stated.
“Ole is a brilliant guy and an honest guy but management is about survival and he’s got to get a result in the next game.
“A coach or a manager can’t give a player courage. I have to remind myself it’s hard out there but they shouldn’t be 11 points behind [league leaders] Chelsea.
“I think Ole will be under more pressure than the Liverpool game. “The way they lost, it’s a derby game.
“Ole was shook up in that interview, it’s tough for a manager when you’ve got beat in a match and he’s getting asked hard questions but he’s steps up and he always has and I’ll give him that.
“But if you’re a manager, this morning he spoke about the players being in a good mood in the hotel whatever the hell they were doing, you’re going into a match looking at the bus and [Luke] Shaw, [Harry] Maguire, Fred and your job is depending on these guys?
“You’re in trouble. You’ve got international players. Anyone who tells me Fred is good enough for United – they’re in cuckoo cuckoo land.
“Cavani is 30-odd you can’t hang your hat on him every week. I can imagine Ole looking at players and not knowing what you’re going to get.
“Micah [Richards] will enjoy their day and they all have their little day, Liverpool one title in 30 years. Man United are in a bad place, but there’s a way out.
“Is Ole the man to do it? Huge question marks.
“I hope [he is] but it’s more hope than belief.”
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