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The world waits for a response from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United after PSG defeat

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s honeymoon period as Manchester United caretaker manager officially came to an end on Tuesday night.

KS
Last updated: 14.02.2019
The world waits for a response from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United after PSG defeat | Sports Social Blog

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s honeymoon period as Manchester United caretaker manager officially came to an end on Tuesday night. Paris Saint-Germain displayed the gulf in class that exists between the Red side of Manchester and other top European teams. Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe delivered the hammer blows on Manchester United’s hopes of making it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League since the wait for it, David Moyes’ team in 2014.

But as with all marriages, the real work starts after the honeymoon period is over. The couples star discovering each other quirky idiosyncrasies and deficiencies. The limitations of Manchester United’s squads were laid bare by a clinical PSG team, who looked in a different planet to the Old Trafford outfit. Solskjaer is now acutely aware of the level his side will need to step up to compete at the top level. Whether the Norwegian will be given the keys to carry out the structural changes in the squad is a different argument altogether.

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Manchester United are still looking to bring in a director of football ahead of a key summer for the club. Solskjaer still remains the fan favourite to become the permanent manager but the club is yet to take a decision. Tottenham’s dismantling of Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night will further put the spotlight on the remarkable work Mauricio Pochettino has carried out in north London. It is no secret that before Solskjaer’s team went on the terrific run of form, the Argentine was the board’s first choice to become the new permanent manager at the end of the season. A meek Champions League elimination for Manchester United and Tottenham’s progress could further incline the club hierarchy towards Pochettino.

However, there’s still a lot of football that needs to be played from now until the end of the season. The former Manchester United striker’s key job is to make sure that the PSG defeat doesn’t derail the steps his side have taken over the last eight weeks. Manchester United have some huge games coming up – Chelsea in the FA Cup and a huge Premier League clash against Liverpool.

With the distance between the PSG defeat and the game at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, the squad will hope to recover and prepare well for the FA Cup encounter. Chelsea has now turned into a huge game for Solskjaer’s side. The Blues have been struggling and Manchester United will hope to take advantage. A win and progress in the FA Cup on Monday night will bring the spring back into their strides going forward. But a defeat could further put forward questions about the actual quality of the Manchester United squad and Solskjaer’s suitability to get the manager’s gig permanently. On the evidence of form, Manchester United should be beating a Chelsea team bereft of confidence. But I don’t remember watching an easy game for the Red Devils at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea also has added incentive to turn things around in front of their home fans. Maurizio Sarri is aware of a defeat to Manchester United on Monday night could spell the doom on his future at the club.

And things won’t be getting any easier for Manchester United after the trip to Stamford Bridge.

Title contenders and their hated rivals Liverpool come calling at Old Trafford on Sunday, 24th February. The Reds are involved in a heated battle with Manchester City for the Premier League title. A large section of Manchester United fans are backing their city rivals as the enmity with Liverpool runs deeper.

Jurgen Klopp has not won a league game at Old Trafford since taking charge of the Merseyside giants. Liverpool’s recent record at Manchester United is not anything to write home about. But they will be coming to Manchester with three points in mind. Manchester City has been shifting gears and Liverpool are acutely aware that any slip-up could have huge consequences on the title race.

And Manchester United and their fans will take extra delight in denting their hopes of ending their 29-year wait for a league title. The Red Devils would ideally like to be involved in the race itself but for the moment they could possibly play the elusive King Maker role.

Regardless of the title race, a lot is riding on both the games for Manchester United. Progress in FA Cup would keep their hopes of winning a trophy this season and a win against Liverpool will keep them firmly entrenched in the top four. Solskjaer has already outlined his desire of winning a trophy and finishing in the top four. He is well aware that the next month could play a significant role in deciding on whether Manchester United offer him the permanent manager’s job in the summer.

However, on more immediate concerns, wins over Chelsea and Liverpool will also quell some of the doubts that have risen over him and his squad since the PSG defeat. A couple of positive results against two big teams could also provide them the momentum and the edge they need before they visit the Parc des Princes for the second leg against PSG.

“Mountains are there to be climbed”, Solskjaer told BT Sport after the game at Old Trafford on Tuesday night. He will hope to set up the base camp for the steep road ahead with two wins over Chelsea and Liverpool over the next week and some more.


Video: Manchester United vs PSG 



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